Steven Wilson: To the Bone (Caroline) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #61 - Grizzly Bear

To the Bone


Aug 14, 2017 Issue #61 - Grizzly Bear Bookmark and Share

It’s common to see songwriters start out making simple, traditional, pop-oriented songs, and then over the course of a career evolve to create more complex, refined, and writerly work. It’s rare, however, to see that same process in reverse. Steven Wilson, former frontman of Porcupine Tree and the figurehead of modern prog, is doing just that with his new album To the Bone. Where most of Wilson’s previous work is progressive and story-based, To the Bone is a collection of hard-edged, cleanly produced pop songs in the vein of big ‘80s art-pop groups like Talk Talk and Tears for Fears.

That’s not to say that the album isn’t conceptual; in fact, it’s better than most current releases at examining anxiety in the world in 2017. There are songs about bitter, faithless terrorists (“Detonation”) and social media stress and alienation (the stunning, balladic single “Pariah”). Instrumentally, nothing here matches the guitar-solo heights of Wilson’s 2013 opus The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories), but there are surprising echoes of Porcupine Tree’s urgent, layered early-2000s output. To the Bone is not perfect throughout, but the immaculately clean production, thought-provoking lyrics, and refined aesthetic make it an excellent introduction to the qualities that make Steven Wilson such an important songwriter and producer in modern music, prog or otherwise. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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