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Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (and other songs)

Steven Wilson’s latest release is arguably bittersweet for any Porcupine Tree fan, for while he has emphatically rejected making any sort of grand pronouncement about the permanent demise of the band, it is clear that it is on the back burner for him for the foreseeable future.

Nevertheless, for anyone that is a fan of what is contentiously labeled “progressive rock,”, I urge you to give this a listen.  Having only listened to it a few times, I am not sure, but it might arguably be, on many levels, the greatest work that he has ever produced.

A professed atheist, his driving theme for this work is based on the notion of ghost stories, and feelings of regret that some might feel coming to the end of their lives, thinking they had not accomplished what they wanted to accomplish in their lives, not been with the person they should have been with, and so on.  I’m tempted to add “and yada yada yada” as I’ve never felt that (Roger Waters excepting, with his work with Pink Floyd on The Final Cut and his own Amused to Death), concept albums are rarely ever really all that cohesive.  I gather that there is actually a written ghost story for each of the songs, but don’t actually care to read them in any way.

Regardless, though there are hints of King Crimson, Yes, and Jethro Tull in this work, it should not, in any sense, be thought to be derivative.  It is a fundamentally original and enthralling work.  For people who are into that sort of thing, the extended guitar solo that Guthrie Govan puts in for the last 2 minutes of “Drive Home” is nothing short of astonishing to me.

There are enough reviews out there that put together a song by song examination, so I need not try to add to that here.  But the title track deserves special mention.  It will not seem unfamiliar to anyone who is a Steven Wilson fan.  But it is reminiscent to me of King Crimson’s “Islands” in taking ‘simple’ music, and making it brilliant.  The heartfelt and heartbreaking repeated use of “Please” is terribly moving to my ears (for many reasons, most of them personal).

Please
Come to me
Please
Stay with me

Sing to me, Raven
I miss you so much

Give it a listen.  Enjoy.

posted on Friday, March 01, 2013 11:05 PM Print
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