(9/10) What a start into 2016. The master of prog rock, Steven Wilson, surprises us with new songs. "4 1/2" is the name of a release that should help to bridge the waiting time between the last album "Hand.Cannot.Erase" and the upcoming longplayer. And what name would fit better for a release inbetween album four and five than "4 1/2".
This EP features five new songs that are presenting Steven Wilson at his best. Four of them are taken from the "Hand..." session and it's amazing to see/hear, what kind of tracks didn't make it on the album. A lot of other bands would give a fortune for this kind of compositions.
The staring point into this progressive rock journey is called "My Book of Regrets" which is a nine minutes long masterpiece. It's a relaxed opener with epical solo parts and an energetic outburst towards the end.
"Year of the Plague" is the second leg on this trip. It's one of those silent songs that pay so much attention to details. This number isn't written for headbanging. This tune is a for closing your eyes and dream away.
The next number, "Happiness III" instead brings some swinging ease into Wilson's sound. The title is well chosen since it feels, with it's positive vibe, like a sonic sunrise. You justget happy.
And what follows the sun? Indeed, rain. "Sunday Rain Sets in" is a piano-based tune that has a lot of finesse and a well-chosen counterpart to the previous song.
For the ones of you that miss the more heavy riffing and the groove, I can recommend "Vermillioncore". Take from the "The Raven that Refused to Sing" session, the composition is another example for an excellent song that didn't make it on the original record.
The last chapter is called "Don't Hate Me" which is a Porcupine Tree song from 1998. Magic moment are the vocals that Wilson shares with Ninet Tayeb, plus the extensive saxophone parts.
There is no way around this EP, at least not if you appreciate advanced rock music on a Champions League level. "4 1/2" is a great bridge till the new album will see the light of day and it's, in itself, another pearl in Steven Wilson's rich discography.
- My Book of Regrets
- Year of the Plague
- Happiness III
- Sunday Rain SetsIn
- Don't Hate Me
Genre: Prog Rock
Release Date EU: January 22nd, 2016