Exposé Online banner

Steven Wilson — Hand. Cannot. Erase.
(Kscope 316, 2015, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2015-05-19

Hand. Cannot. Erase. Cover artThe problem with being Steven Wilson is that every new album has to measure up to a high bar relative to what is now a long career and successful body of work. As a musical statement his new album Hand. Cannot. Erase. sits comfortably alongside past efforts, although I wouldn’t characterize it as one of his best. In form it reminds me of Porcupine Tree’s The Incident (2009). However, the story here — a woman is discovered dead in her apartment though nobody had noticed she had gone missing for three years — offers a more poignant and deeper dramatic reservoir. But as The Incident reminded us, a good concept album needs to have enough meat on the bone to hold and sustain the listener’s attention, let alone make them care about the story. Sonically Wilson has chosen to swing back toward the modern production aesthetics of earlier years. He especially seems keen to revisit his work with Tim Bowness in No Man, which pops up in the more accessible tunes “Happy Returns” and the title track. Neither scales the heights of Wilson’s best pop songwriting. Instead, the best moments are found in proggy tracks like “Home Invasion” and “Ancestral,” plus the instrumentals (“Regret #9”). Here Wilson’s usual stable of hired guns — Adam Holzman (keys), Guthrie Govan (guitar), and Marco Minnemann (drums) — easily steal the show. With that kind of talent even mediocre material shines brightly, but if it’s enough to win over the listener is in the ear of the beholder.

Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Marco Minnemann, Chad Wackerman, Steven Wilson, Theo Travis

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ozric Tentacles - Vitamin Enhanced – This six-CD set contains the early works of the band from the years 1984-89, heretofore only available on six cassettes that together cost more than this boxed set. For those not yet familiar with the...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues