Steven Wilson – To The Bone (2017) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Steven Wilson – To The Bone (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 59:53 minutes | 1,13 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: burningshed.com | Front Cover | ©  Steven Wilson Productions Ltd

Fusing futurist rock and spectral electronics with elegant atmospheres and wild guitars, To The Bone references the hugely ambitious Progressive Pop records that inspired Wilson in his teens (Peter Gabriel’s So, Talk Talk’s Colour of Spring, Tears for Fears Seeds of Love etc). Lyrically, the album’s eleven tracks encompass the paranoid chaos of the post-truth era and the creeping self-loathing of the technology age, as well as steely fly-on-the-wall observations of the everyday lives of religious fundamentalists and a welcome shot or two of wide-eyed escapism. A gloriously dynamic Modernist Pop record, To The Bone is Steven Wilson’s fifth offical solo album and it’s a high definition snapshot of the disconcerting times we live in.

This is the most “song”-oriented record in Wilson’s catalog. Each tune could have been recorded in a vacuum. Wilson includes members of his road band and others, and features Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb – who nearly steals the show on several tracks. On the stellar title opening cut – complete with Pink Floyd-esque guitars (à la “Time”) Tayeb’s and Dave Kilminster’s backing vocals buoy the tune’s hook, and add operatic support to Wilson’s lead. On “Pariah,” Tayeb alternates lead vocals with Wilson. The lithe harmonic architecture with lilting synths, restrained guitars, and loops creates a backdrop for his vulnerable delivery, yet her refrain resonates with emotional authority and encouragement for the protagonist’s doubt. It echoes the interplay of Gabriel and Bush on “Don’t Give Up” and is just as distinctive. “Refuge” takes a couple of minutes to emerge from its (mostly) electronic intro, but when it does, its sultry melody is supported by a trilling string section and thundering tom-toms, squalling harmonica and power chords to become an anthem. Speaking of which, the utterly infectious “Permanenting” with its hooky melody (again with Tayeb’s backing vocals adding heft and sincerity) nods directly at Tears for Fears’ glorious harmonies while simultaneously reflecting a love of Northern soul (à la Curtis Mayfield’s “Get on Up”), though its urgent guitars and popping drums are pure Wilson. “People Eat Darkness” is a fist-pumping rocker that sounds like Bowie fronting Swervedriver, but gets a few points deducted for hamfisted lyrics. Wilson nods at the post-trip-hop sounds of No-Man with “Song of I,” with its loops and handclaps atop piano and strings. Its vocals are delivered in duet with Sophie Hunger. The nine-minute “Detonation” weds prog to adventurous pop with a glorious result, while closer “Song to Unborn” (featuring only his road band) is majestic; it could easily sit with the songs on either Raven or Hand. While To the Bone sometimes seems inconsistent, it’s an illusion; repeated listening reveals that Wilson’s brand of progressive pop is so multivalently textured and expertly crafted, that its aesthetic and sonic palette refuse to be contained under a single rock umbrella. As such, To the Bone stands with Wilson’s best work.

Tracklist:
01 – To The Bone
02 – Nowhere Now
03 – Pariah
04 – The Same Asylum As Before
05 – Refuge
06 – Permanating
07 – Blank Tapes
08 – People Who Eat Darkness
09 – Song Of I
10 – Detonation
11 – Song Of Unborn

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