Steven Wilson has released a new album. This would normally be greeted with rapturous applause by the geek squad of prog rock pimple poppers.
Instead there is confusion all around as the darling of the prog world has gone pop. Not since Genesis had a hit or Yes went all Buggley or maybe when Porcupine Tree became Steven Wilson solo has the world of the lonely male progger been so challenged. They have wiped off their moist hands pushed back their lank unwashed hair and straightened out their cargo shorts to scream betrayal through a mouthful of Mountain Dew and Cheetos, their toxic orange and lime spittle staining the bemused faces of the record buying public.
What may have happened is that their hero decided to challenge himself to do something other than meet their expectations. Maybe that became too easy and unfulfilling for him.
What may have happened is Steven Wilson finally left Porcupine Tree and all the expectations that went with that.
So when you listen if you listen closely you can hear 10CC, Wilco, Abba, George Harrison, The Beatles, Wings some McCartney, Giorgio Moroder, Marvin Gaye, Pink Floyd, a little Nine Inch Nails, Duran Duran. XTC, Bowie, Tangerine Dream, Yes, Genesis, Madonna, Phil Spector, Sly Stone and a whole lot of other influences boiling up to provide a melange of one mans listening habits. Is it all great? No! Is it different? Yes! Is it enjoyable? Yes! It’s a great Progressive Pop album which is no way a bad thing.
Remember when Robert Fripp decided he wanted to be in a pop band!