Bowness’s partnership with Steven Wilson in No-Man and collaborations with Robert Fripp, Peter Hammill and Phil Manzanera (the latter two instrumental guests here) marks his solo, art-rock terrain.
Stupid Things That Mean The World also recalls prog – not in musical expansiveness (some tracks barely last a minute), but nostalgia for English pasts, and innocence lost.
The Great Electric Teenage Dream mourns devotion to rock itself (‘once a record/now an unpaid stream’), while Soft William is among songs of domestic tragedy and urban despair that recall Wilson’s true-life concept album about a woman’s lonely death, Hand. Cannot. Erase. Bowness’s voice shares an almost sticky-sweet yearning with Prefab Sprout’s Paddy McAloon, softening his sad lyrical blows.
CD buyers get an extra disc including a 1994 No-Man demo and an ambient remix, suiting sharp-edged songs whose music glides prettily by./o:p