Skip to main content

Steven Wilson: 4 1⁄2

Interim album born out of Hand. Cannot. Erase. sessions.

To say Steven Wilson likes to keep busy is to understate things. After the success of the commercial and critical hit that was the Hand. Cannot. Erase. album, he took to the road, traversing the globe in the most ambitious and well-received tour of his career.

Most bands like to play poker on the tour bus, but Wilson’s ambitions are a little loftier – he takes self-curation to a newer, more elevated place.

For its place in his canon, the 4 12 album is a relatively scant 37 minutes of sessions created around the recording of Hand…, and it’s easy to see where the songs might have fitted into the conceptual jigsaw of the original work. Case in point: there’s no reason why the opener, My Book Of Regrets, would have sounded out of place on there; ditto Happiness III.

Elsewhere, he indulges his inner Frank Sinatra/Zappa with the haunting and quite lovely Sunday Rain Sets In, and breathes new life into Porcupine Tree’s Don’t Hate Me, now reborn as a stunning duet between Wilson and Ninet Tayeb. There’s no asking where Steven Wilson can go after this – he can go anywhere he wants.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion. He ghosted Carl Barat’s acclaimed autobiography, Threepenny Memoir, and helped launch the BBC 6 Music network as producer and co-presenter on the Phill Jupitus Breakfast Show. Five years later he and Jupitus fronted the hugely popular Perfect 10 podcast and live shows. His debut novel, Cross Country Murder Song, was described, variously, as ‘sophisticated and compelling’ and ‘like a worm inside my brain’. His latest novel The Death And Life Of Red Henley is out now.