Steven Wilson - Insurgentes
Kscope
Progressive Rock
10 songs (55:22)
Release year: 2009
Steven Wilson , Kscope
Reviewed by Goat

You can’t help but feel rather odd, looking at the first official solo album from Steven Wilson, most famous for being Porcupine Tree’s driving force and a producer of (amongst others) Opeth. Wilson had total control over Porcupine Tree for the initial years at the very least, and so what he’d come up with given the freedom to come up with music under his own name after all this time is interesting indeed. Well, Porcupine Tree fans will be pleased to hear that he hasn’t strayed far at all from the sound they’re used to, concentrating on the usual near-ambient melodies to make up an excellent album indeed. Aside from the odd bit of guitar dissonance and drone, there’s none of the Metallic drive of recent years, although there are plenty of moments which put the Rock into Prog – never showy or something that today’s mainstream music fanbase could appreciate without a good bit of head-scratching, however, as ever a good thing.

Without a doubt, this is first and foremost a pleasant listen. Opener Harmony Korine alone is an amazing song, building up to the sort of uplifting poppy chorus that is heavy enough to feel guilty about loving. At just over five minutes it doesn’t outlast its welcome at all, and provides a great kickoff. The album continues in a gentle but captivating way, the gentle beats and strumming of Abandoner which explodes into droning noise towards the end, the eight-minute eastern-tinged Salvaging, probably my favourite song on the album due to the beautiful Neoclassical section, perfectly judged and expertly applied, putting a happy smile on your face before turning dark and ominous at the end.

That’s not to say that other tracks are less worthy. It’s impossible to point any poor or filler tracks out, as each and every song here has much to recommend it – I also loved the reflective Veneno Para Las Hadas, full of Wilson’s typically excellent vocal work, No Twilight In The Courts Of The Sun’s noisy extended guitar soloing, and the heartbreaking Get All That You Deserve. It really is the kind of album that sits on your playlist more or less forever, as comforting and familiar as your favourites, and if this were released ten years ago it would be getting a classic review without question. Not the sort of classic that people will be talking about in reverential tones fifty years from now, understand, but the kind of album that you can easily recommend to people, the kind of album that will always touch an emotional button whether you’re at your highest or lowest.

Insurgentes represents pure musical talent, above all. There are plenty of guest musicians on the album, including King Crimson’s Tony Levin providing bass on a few tracks, Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess on piano, famed player of the koto Michiyo Yagi, as well as Porcupine Tree/King Crimson drummer and percussionist Gavin Harrison, but this is Wilson’s show and those familiar with his musical style up until now will find Insurgentes to be another quality release from the man. I’m admittedly not as au fait with Porcupine Tree’s back catalogue as I should be, but if they’re half as good as this then I’ll be spending a lot of time with them indeed. Steven Wilson’s first album is a truly great group of songs; listen hard, and listen well... this is music as it should be.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Harmony Korine, Salvaging, Veneno Para Las Hadas, Get All That You Deserve
Goat quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Steven Wilson that we have reviewed:
Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 98 / 100
Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
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