Steven Wilson – 4 1/2 – 9.0/10
(Review Originally Posted on Nocturnal Hall Magazine. The link to the original can be found here: http://www.nocturnalhall.com/reviews/W/wilson_41-2_e.html)
I have never been shy in expressing my admiration for English musician and producer STEVEN WILSON, and highly anticipate any new release by him. So you could imagine my excitement at the announcement of a new EP a year after his last album, Hand.Cannot.Erase. That album was my favorite release of the year 2015, and I was lucky enough to see him twice on the album’s subsequent tour. At one of those shows, he played a new song, titled Song X at the time. Now in January of 2016, we know that song is called My Book Of Regrets, and we know that it starts off this EP known as 4 ½. The idea behind this EP is that it is a compilation of songs that have been left off his past couple of solo releases. However, simply in releasing a compilation, STEVEN WILSON is still able to bring about such a level of flow that is unparalleled by any other musician. These seemingly unrelated songs seem to have a concept behind them, despite being written at different times and despite being written with different mindsets. My Book Of Regrets is a 9 and a half-minute piece with many twists and turns. From a great verse and chorus to the intricate solos towards the end, this song has it all. It also has lyrics from the point of view of a detached woman in the backseat of a London taxi. The next song is Year Of The Plague, a beautiful instrumental of simple guitar arpeggios and nostalgic violin lines. It is nostalgic, sad, but also hopeful, and is a wonderful transition between the first song and the next song. Happiness III is a more straightforward song with an incredibly catchy chorus. Originally written around 2003, thematically it relates to the detached lyrics of My Book Of Regrets, despite being from the point of view of an entirely different character. Sunday Rain Sets In and Vermillioncore are excellent instrumentals, which show the jazzy and virtuosic abilities of the members of the Steven Wilson band. The EP ends with a reworking of a Porcupine Tree song with Israel singer Ninet Tayeb during the chorus and Theo Travis playing saxophone during the middle section. Overall, this EP shows the talent of all of the members inSTEVEN WILSON’s current band, it shows STEVEN’s ability to write many different styles of music, and it shows that songs that were left off of albums deserve a second chance, because they may end up fitting perfectly with a group of different songs in the future.