Thursday, June 15, 2017

Steven Wilson to visit the Midlands

Steven Wilson to visit the Midlands
by Pete Clemons

At the time I last put digit to keyboard and put a few words together about Steven Wilson, his third studio album ‘The Raven That Refused to Sing’, was about to be released.

Without the backing of major promotion ‘The Raven’ reached the top 30 of the UK album charts and was also very popular in Europe.

A supporting tour across Europe and North America during the early part of 2013 was followed up by further European dates, including a sold out date at The Royal Albert Hall, along with gigs in Australia toward the end of the same year.

Steven’s fourth album ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase.’ was released during February 2015 and also crashed into the album charts. Critically acclaimed, The Guardian newspaper called it ‘a smart, soulful and immersive work of art’. Others called it ‘a masterpiece’. Once again, a major tour promoted the album that took into further territories that including South America.

Now Steven has his fifth album ‘To The Bone’ on the horizon and this time a date in Coventry, as well as the Symphony Hall Birmingham, has been included in the itinerary.

There have been several tasters for the album released to the internet, but being an old fashioned kind of listener I would personally prefer to wait until the album has been released, during August 2017, and hear it in its full glory. But they are out there to be viewed.

Having not being tempted by the tasters I cannot comment on the album at all. However I can relay some of the comments I have read about what is to come:

A gloriously dynamic modernistic pop record. Fusing futuristic rock and spectoral elecronics with elegant atmospheres and wild guitars. To The Bone references the hugely ambitious Progressive Pop records that inspired Wilson in his teens. Lyrically, the album’s eleven tracks encompass the paranoid chaos of the post-truth era and the creeping self-loathing of the technology age, as well as steely fly on the wall observations of the everyday lives of religious fundamentalists and a welcome shot or two of wide eyed escapism. To The Bone is a high definition snapshot of the disconcerting times we live in.

Another major piece of news is that Steven recently signed for Caroline Records. For those with long memories, you may remember Caroline as a subsidiary of Richard Branson’s Virgin Records label. At the time it specialised in progressive rock and jazz influenced artists.

Nowadays Caroline is fully American owned and appears to have widened its horizons and releases records by a whole range of artists.

On his signing for Caroline Steven said ‘I’m absolutely delighted to be entering into partnership with Michael roe and his team at Caroline for my next album. Although Caroline exist within the Universal Music Group, their philosophy allows me to remain creatively independent, while at the same time providing the ‘muscle’ that being with a major organisation brings. This makes it a perfect home for me, and I’m happy to now be label mates with some of the most respected musicians in the industry’.

So back to the tour planned to begin during March 2018. The Warwick Arts Centre gig will be held on Thursday 15th with the visit to the Symphony Hall being a week after on the 22nd. And tickets appear to be selling very well.

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