It would be an understatement to say that Steven Wilson’s sixth full-length album continues down the more commercialized path that was established on 2017’s To The Bone. While that album has ultimately proved to be a simplified variation of its predecessors in hindsight, The Future Bites opts for a very different approach as the guitars are downplayed and Pop and Electronica influences completely take over. It’s far removed from the Prog dog days of Porcupine Tree but also not unprecedented when you consider No-Man’s Synthpop side. Continue reading
Kscope Music is celebrating 10 years as a label in 2018 and has booked a grand concert at London’s Union Chapel on October 2nd. It will feature performances from Anathema, Paul Draper, Iamthemorning and Gleb Kolyadin. Tickets are on sale now. Continue reading
Genius is a gangly word to throw around, and at Ghost Cult, we don’t use it lightly, or all that often. For Steven Wilson, that tag has applied more often than not to his output in his thirty-year-plus career. As he pulls further and further away from his progressive metal heyday; he runs headlong to return to his early roots in the 1980s of No Man Is An Island/No-Man (look it up if you don’t know it) project. His loose goal going in was to make a pop-rock album in the vein of lightly prog-flavored favorites of his youth such as Peter Gabriel, Tears For Fears, XTC, and others. He achieved this on To The Bone (Caroline International), without any pretense you might associate with an artist making a choice like this.Continue reading
There is a modest earnestness to much of Tim Bowness’ third solo album Stupid Things That Mean The World (InsideOut), as the singer-songwriter continues to explore the direction and timbre of his more recent works. Openly stating that Stupid Things… is a continuation of its’ predecessor, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (InsideOut), Bowness confirms the premise that practice makes (near) perfect, with an eclectic and wistful selection of songs whose charm isn’t just in the pleasant ear candy they first appear to be, but in the reflection and layers that unfurl with repeated listens.
With a warm, friendly production courtesy of The Pineapple Thief’s Bruce Soord, who also adds moments of lilting guitar and acoustic quality much like he did to Katatonia’s Sanctitude (KScope), on the surface Bowness’ solo work is centred around building a song that sounds simple, often flowering out of an acoustic guitar and unpretentious vocal combination, expanding to contain several strata of multiple, and very appropriate, instrumentation, such as the delicate pedal guitar that enhances ‘Know That You Were Loved’, or the swelling strings and keys that dance in and out of several of the tracks.
Bowness conveys honest emotion and reflection in his words throughout, each line delivered with grace and feeling. He doesn’t push the vocals, staying in a comfortable mid-range, but allows the fine touches of the many players (a veritable who’s who of progressive rocks’ illuminati) to add colour to his ideas and push the dynamics of this most excellently and carefully arranged album, with standout song ‘Sing For Me’ the most well-crafted of songs, rising to a fulfilling and emotive conclusion.
While being far from a melancholy album, indeed the overall sense is one that uplifts, most songs display tinges of regret, sorrow and introspective. Yet where Strange Things… is at its best is in the more experimental songs; the burnt caramel to the honeyed touch of the dream pop surroundings. ‘Press Reset’ is dark rock, ‘The Great Teenage Electric Dream’ shows its temper and the title track is slinky pop, all which adds up to show Strange Things That Mean The World is a welcome addition to the canon of a man who is No-Man no more, but stands as a valued solo artist in his own right.
The album is a follow-up to 2014’s acclaimed Abandoned Dancehall Dreams and features Bowness’ live band (including Porcupine Tree‘s Colin Edwin), alongside Anna Phoebe, Peter Hammill, Andrew Keeling and other guests (to be announced shortly).
Tim had this to say:
“If Abandoned Dancehall Dreams was something of a bolder and more dynamic extension of No-Man’s ‘Schoolyard Ghosts,’ I’d say that the new album is something of a bolder and more dynamic extension of ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams.’ A logical step forward with some surprises, I hope. It’s been really exciting working with the band on most of the pieces and getting some special contributions from the likes of Anna Phoebe, Peter Hammill and Andrew Keeling.”
Tim Bowness is primarily known as vocalist/co-writer with the band No-Man, a long-running collaboration with Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree). In addition to releasing six studio albums and a documentary DVD with No-Man, Tim has worked with popular Italian artist Alice, Robert Fripp, Hugh Hopper (Soft Machine), OSI and Roxy Music‘s Phil Manzanera, amongst many others, and is a member of the bands Henry Fool and Memories Of Machines.
Stream the music video for “The Warm-Up Man Forever” from Abandoned Dancehall Dreams here.