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 / I.E.M., Theo Travis

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Happy Rhodes - Many Worlds Are Born Tonight – Happy Rhodes is now at her eighth studio album, and it is her first to be released on a label other than her own Aural Gratification. Not that signing with Samson is exactly a move to the majors. This...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues