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With a new solo release, modern prog rock figurehead Steven Wilson pulls together a series of tracks that feel like they function more on formulas than they do feelings. WATCH THE REVIEW
With a new solo release, modern prog rock figurehead Steven Wilson pulls together a series of tracks that feel like they function more on formulas than they do feelings.
Very interesting review! It’s almost a year on since the album was released. I am a big Steven Wilson fan however a year on since it’s release I can’t say I’ve connected with this album. It’s definitely quite detached from reality, almost feels like a compositional exercise in many ways. It’s interesting that you commented on the sound quality or lack thereof… Alan Parsons the great engineer who did a lot of the classic Pink Floyd albums was the producer/engineer on this record. Perhaps his skills have lessened? This album when performed live has much more energy in it I think!
Kind of funny hearing him say “faux mellotron,” given that the mellotron used on this album is the exact same analog mellotron used on “In the Court of the Crimson King,” which is sort of the quintessential progressive rock album. Moreover, the BluRay edition contains all instrumental tracks without any vocals, in case anyone is interested in hearing what Anthony considers a “better” version of Raven. I do agree, SW’s singing voice isn’t the greatest but he can hold his own. I actually cringe more when I hear Geddy Lee. As far as the production quality, I agree with Anthony – I was shocked when I learned that Alan Parsons was the point-man on this. Parsons’ TAPP and solo records sound much more lush and rich than this record did. (I think his best work with Pink Floyd was actually trumped by James Guthrie, if I was to speak frankly). If I had to describe Raven’s production quality, I would say it’s “chalky.” Too much treble on the bass guitar, especially during Luminol, and what’s even more interesting, is that the demo for Luminol (also on the BluRay version) is even “chalkier” than the final cut. And Nick Beggs is a great bassist – even using the Chapman Stick throughout parts of the album, which you’d never really notice unless you knew beforehand. Production quality on Grace for Drowning was much, much better, I think. It had a pleasant mixture of that warm, punchy low-end as well as crisp (but not aggravating) high-end.
Hand Cannot Erase is due out in a few weeks, and the early release title track for me was a flop. I know Wilson has been remixing Tears for Fears and Simple Minds albums on the side, so I think he might be gunning for “guitar-driven 80s pop-rock” with the next release. Title track felt to me like a polished Blackfield song without Aviv Geffen messing things up. (And to me, a polished turd is still a turd at its core). While I applaud a new direction, I do agree with Anthony that what Wilson does best is emulate 70s prog, and I would add that he does it quite well, but I actually find it more enjoyable than Anthony, which is fine.