Steven Wilson surprised me last year with his album Hand. Cannot. Erase. which I absolutely loved. So when I heard that his new EP 4 ½ mostly contained unreleased material from the Hand. Cannot. Erase. sessions I got pretty excited.
And it didn’t disappoint! The lineup that’s been on Steven’s solo albums since The Raven That Refused to Sing has been really solid, and they continue to nail it with this half album.
4 ½ has a nice mix of soft proggy melodies, rocking riffs, and unique solos. The glitchy sounding solo on “Vermillioncore” sounds especially cool and actually has me wondering what instrument is actually producing it, synth, or guitar or something else entirely. Steven’s not afraid to experiment, but nothing ever sounds out of place.
Steven’s vocals are great as usual and Ninet Tayeb’s contribution to the last track “Don’t Hate Me” brings new life to an old Porcupine Tree classic.
While 4 ½ is just an EP, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Clocking in at 37 minutes, the 6 lengthy tracks contain enough meat to keep me coming back. Although not quite reaching the level of Hand. Cannot. Erase. or The Raven That Refused to Sing, it certainly comes close. These songs don’t feel like leftovers from those albums, and they stand on their own.
If you’re into progressive rock, then you’ve had to have heard of Steven Wilson and were planning to check this out already. As for everyone else, give it a shot (after catching up with his past two albums) because this EP is sublime.