Vermilion Sands

The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories) Steven Wilson

released: 2013-02-25
on label: Kscope
artist: Steven Wilson
with some: Jazz-RockSymphonic ProgArt Rock
more reviews: Prog Archives The Guardian

Since embarking on a solo career that has liberated him from his band Porcupine Tree’s occasional stylistic restrictions, Hemel Hempstead’s widely revered prog-rock polymath has been revelling in the genre’s limitless possibilities. Emboldened by the presence and powers of bassist Nick Beggs and woodwind maestro Theo Travis, Wilson’s third solo album covers a bewildering amount of ground. Based on a series of self-penned ghost stories in the tradition of Edgar Allen Poe and Arthur Machen, The Raven That Refused to Sing explodes into life with a stripped-down art-rock thud before morphing seamlessly into all manner of wildly evocative soundscapes, melodic crescendos and mellotron-drenched fever dreams.

Honed to peak fitness by recent touring, Wilson’s band whip up an electrifying storm of amorphous vitality, their grasp of light and shade ensuring that something as elaborate and adventurous as “The Watchmaker” never loses focus or fire. Concluding with the eerie grace of the title track, this album shows Wilson to be one of modern rock’s most cunning and soulful protagonists.