Steven Wilson’s new solo album Hand. Cannot. Erase. combines lyrical guitar passages, haunting vocal melodies and powerfully resonant percussion and bass to create a musical landscape that is, somehow, entirely new yet familiar to Wilson’s fans.
The album kicks in with the beautiful instrumental ‘First Regret’ that sets the listener into the mood of the album perfectly. From there, one is taken on a journey that flows as seamlessly as a brook in the mountains. The guitar riffs are mind-blowing, filled with oodles of feel and do an excellent job of providing the “flow” effect along with the thumping, powerful bass; the keyboards and Wilson’s vocals remain stuck in your head for days together, and promise to have you humming along the second time you listen to them.
All in all, this album is one of my favourite Steven Wilson records so far. The lyrics have a connect; like with almost all of Wilson’s albums, they tell a story of their own when listened to in sequence. As explained by Wilson:
“The basic story, or concept of the record – it’s about a woman growing up, who goes to live in the city, very isolated, and she disappears one day and no one notices. There’s more to it than that. Now, what’s really interesting about this story is that your initial reaction when you hear a story like that is, ‘Ah, little old bag lady that no one notices, no one cares about.’ [Vincent] wasn’t [like that]. She was young, she was popular, she was attractive, she had many friends, she had family, but for whatever reason, nobody missed her for three years.”
Some things that I personally loved (and I think are definitely worth checking out) are the keyboard line of ‘First Regret’, Marco Minneman’s beautifully soul-rending guitar solos and Ninet Tayeb’s stirring voice in ‘Routine’, ‘Home Invasion’, which then beautifully transitions into the hypnotic ‘Regret #9’. Another thing worth mentioning is Wilson’s vocal line in ‘Transcience’ (God, I was humming this for a week straight). Basically, the entire album.
And after all this talk of it, I think I might have to go listen to it again now.
For more on Steven Wilson, visit www.stevenwilsonhq.com.