If you’re wondering why you’ve not heard of him, Steven Wilson’s overnight success has arrived after a mere thirty five years or so, during which he’s been a member of the still active but largely forgotten No-Man and cult favourites Porcupine Tree, produced and remixed too many artists to list here and when times were hard even written music for TV ads.
The Future Bites is his sixth album and continues a solo career path in which he’s gradually shifted towards the kind of mainstream grown up rock which hardly anyone seems to make anymore, arguably casting him as an anonymous player in an increasingly redundant field. All things considered, he certainly can’t be accused of shirking a challenge.
There are plenty of reasons though why The Future Bites – a high concept album about identity, manipulation and the negativity of consumerism – is less of risk than it appears; first and foremost of those is a stanning fanbase who sent it’s predecessor To The Bone into the upper reaches of the charts and ensured that a tour-climaxing three nights at The Royal Albert Hall were sold out.
They’ve got his back and Wilson knows it, hence an album of more pop, electronica and even balladry and less of the prog and harder edged metal of the past. It peaks with Count of Unease’s abstraction and the sprawling nine-minute manifesto of Personal Shopper, but listen carefully for the real feat, which is taking it’s audience out of one comfort zone and then landing it with barely a ripple in another.
You can read the full review here.