STEVEN WILSON – ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’

stevenwilsonSTEVEN WILSON – ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’
As a Canadian male coming of age in the late 70s/early 80s, a sincere reverence for Rush was standard issue.  A fatal mistake like mentioning a fondness for Toni Basil’s ‘Mickey’ might be cause for having your ass handed to you.  I learned quickly that when confronted by the bong-stinking friends of older brothers, the safe answer to ‘what do you listen to?’ was Rush.  During one fateful and bleary listening session I turned to my drunken best friend and asked ‘what the hell is Geddy Lee even talking about?’.  A fearsome eye stabbing from the local burnout (whose presence on that afternoon still baffles me) was followed by ‘that’s not your concern, dude’.  This has proved sound wisdom. When the likes of Steven Wilson sets out to peel open our heads, it isn’t up to us to crack the code of his logic.  His skill as a writer, arranger and musician leaves little room for trivial objections.  Lyrics aside this is a craftsman’s album.  It is the work of someone who understands more than just Prog; he gets the progression of the Rock form.  Where has it been and where can it be taken?  Dynamic and challenging, The Raven That Refused To Sing resonates with a playfulness that suggests real love for his work.  Despite some grim and dour imagery the album consistently pulls out of its darker dives with passages of glorious ascension.  We don’t come to this music to muse over wit and wordplay.  We return to albums like this to visit other worlds.  It’s okay that 80% of what Jon Anderson wrote was waffle and gnome lore.  I still want to live in those Roger Dean paintings.  At the end of the day you don’t need to know what a Tarkus is to still think it’s royally bitchin’. (8)
MATT CROOKER

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