REVIEW: Steven Wilson – 4 1/2 (2016)


The king of modern prog releases a 37 minute EP as a stopgap – as you do when you are brimming with ideas – our Garry casts his eye over it in depth

A new Steven Wilson album is always a treat whether it’s a full blown affair or a 37 min EP which this is….us Wilson fans really don’t mind at all….in fact the more material the merrier, Mr Wilson is such a busy character these days with either his own music or his endless remastering of quality material from bands such as XTC, Tears For Fears, Yes, Gentle Giant…..the list goes on.

But January 22nd see’s the release of ‘4 1/2’….a mini album if you like of tracks left over from the ‘Hand Cannot Erase’ album, the ‘Raven…..’ Album and a reworking of a 1998 Porcupine Tree track….it certainly makes for enjoyable and interesting listening.

My Book Of Regrets:
A very typical Steven Wilson track…..crammed full of fantastic musicianship with the perfect amounts of peaks and troughs throughout….this track would definitely make any home made Steven Wilson compilation of mine….I really look forward to seeing this track performed live at the end of the month.
Year Of The Plague:
A beautiful instrumental piece that passes over you like warm breeze on a summers day is probably the best way to describe it.
Happiness III:
A perfect chart single (although what actually is the charts these days) if ever I heard one, the kind of song that would open up Steven Wilson to a whole new army of fans if it was to be released to a wider audience and picked up by mainstream daytime radio
Sunday Rain Sets In:
Another instrumental…..and another wonderful sublime piece of music…..
Yet another instrumental but this time with a lot more urgency…..a fantastic mix of all the bands members individual talents… can imagine this track on the live circuit being extended with a cry from Mr Wilson of…..’there you go guys…..let’s show the audience what you can do’…..and believe me…..the collective members of the Wilson ensemble certainly have a few irons in the fire.
Don’t Hate Me:
Reworking of a 1998 Porcupine Tree song, but done as a duet between Steven and Ninet Tayeb (wonderful vocalist) which works beautifully, but what this song does is make me really keen to see Mr Wilson revisit other Porcupine Tree works in the not too distant future…..perhaps this excellent version of an old song is his way of teasing us.
All in all….it’s not a full album but we had one of those less than a year ago so let’s not be greedy…’s still a worthy addition to any collection, and any addition to the Steven Wilson catalogue is something to be enjoyed and savoured…..all I can add to this is…..roll on Manchester Apollo on January 29th.
Also appearing on the album are members of Steven’s band over the last few years; Adam Holzman, Nick Beggs, Guthrie Govan, Dave Kilminster, Craig Blundell, Marco Minnemann, Chad Wackerman, and Theo Travis.
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