About a month ago, Steven Wilson (widely known from his longstanding career with Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, and numerous other musical activities), presented his latest album with this weird title. I’m a fan of Porcupine Tree since their first album. I do possess 10 records of them, all 3 records from Blackfield, and a couple from No-Man. But this is the first record I got from his solo career. And this one is his 3rd released as a solo effort.
Initially, I wanted to write this review almost right away, but I decided to wait some time before doing so. The reason? All these reviews I read about this album! I read about a “masterpiece”, about a “rare Jewel” etc etc… I believe that in our days the word 'masterpiece' is very easily labeled, and I don't really agree with this. Those critics and reviews triggered myself to listen to this album over and over again. And finally I think I’m ready to write this piece.
“Raven” contains 6 songs, and half of them are over 10 minutes long. The overall time of the record is about 55 minutes. Truly good, so far. The production of the record is excellent, the musicians that surround Steven Wilson are very accomplished, and the overall result is really satisfying, to say the least.
What bothered me mostly were the many King Crimson influences that can be found throughout the album. The fact is that Steven Wilson was working for the last couple of years in the studio, re-mastering the discographies of King Crimson and Emerson Lake and Palmer. And, I guess, it’s a natural process that he was influenced by the sound and the music of those bands. So, in this record, every now and then, you listen to some parts that could have been easily used in a KING CRIMSON. Another point that I didn’t really like is the many jazz influences again through the whole album (But this is a matter of personal taste because I never liked jazz music to be honest).
Let’s turn to the songs now… First track, the almost 14-minutes-long, “Luminol”. It could be a great piece of music but it contains ALL the ingredients I mentioned before. Although it’s a wonderful song in some parts, there are some other parts that are annoying to me. But the overall feeling is good (Steven Wilson used Robert Fripp’s personal Mellotron in this song in order to give a ”retro” polish). If this song was 2-3 minutes shorter, leaving outside all these King Crimson jazzy influences, it would be, by far, album's best!
Next song is “Drive Home”. A song that could easily fit in any Porcupine Tree album. A 7-minute long slow-driven song, that closes with a beautiful guitar solo. My favorite song from the record so far.
Third song, “Holy Drinker” has all the same ingredients I mentioned for ‘Luminol”. Maybe the most jazzy song of the record. Great at some parts, weird and difficult in others. But even with these elements, it is maybe the second best song here.
“Pin Drop” follows and again it could easily fit in any Porcupine Tree album! Very catchy melodies, and short in length, this is a nice song and you are not tired at all while you listen to it. But I think, this is the weaker song of the album.
“The Watchmaker” follows and it reminds me of GENESIS’s older stuff in some parts, and especially it reminds me of ‘The Cinema Show’. Nice song, with interesting turns concerning its musical direction and structure.
Last, but note least, the closing piece is the “Raven that refused to sing”. Nice song, with very beautiful melodies, but there is something missing in order for this to become superb!
As an overall result, I think “The raven that Refused to Sing” is a good record; it contains so many different music styles and melodies, that everybody would find something adorable!
If I had to put a mark, that would be something between 3.5 and 4 stars out of 5. Enjoy!