Something for the weekend – Episode #42 – Steven Wilson “To The Bone”

This week, it is finally time for this blog to mention one of the best British musicians of the last thirty years. His new album will be with us next week so I thought it would make sense to review his previous studio effort.

Steven Wilson – “To The Bone2017

Steven Wilson does not necessarily look like your typical rock’n’roll beast. If one were to characterize him, he would be better described as a music fan, interested in sounds, tapes, loops but moreover in all types of music. He made a name of himself as the leader of the excellent Porcupine Tree in a genre that can be described as prog rock, closed to the hearts of those Pink Floyd or King Crimson fans. This label is not untrue but a bit lazy, having in mind music reviewers and the general audience like to stick musicians and their art in very well defined boxes…which is not all what this blog is about. Steven Wilson is actually interested in all kinds of music from jazz rock and heavy metal to soul and indie rock. He has been playing since the last decade under his own name and the more it goes, the bigger his success is (and the more diverse is music is).

To The Bone” was released in August 2017 and you will not find this record anywhere in my previous reviews… The main reason why is that its first listens gives a sense of lack of consistency…which is actually totally wrong. All tracks are indeed different and could exist in their own world. The overall intention he had was to pay homage to the great artists of his youth, like for instance Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush or again Tears For Fears. One can spot their influences and a track like the amazing “Permanating” could easily have been included on “Songs From The Big Chair” for instance. But once again it would be lazy not to listen to this record for what it is. At one hour of music, its eleven tracks display a phenomenal level of musicianship, thanks to its guests (specific mention to gorgeous Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb) but the real star of the show here is Steven Wilson and his exceptional guitar-playing skills. A few tracks like opener “To The Bone” (co-written with XTC‘s Andy Partridge) or again “Detonation” are really amongst the best songs of the latest years. I must confess having an unstoppable need to play air guitar when listening to this record! I am supposed to catch him live in September so fingers crossed…

Format: CD Bought in: 2020. To be noted: Michka Assayas’ “Very Good Trip” is probably one of the best music radio show currently available ; he recently did a specific program on Steven Wilson which is highly recommended. Rating: 9.0/10

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