Release Date: Jan 29, 2021
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
With its themes of self-fulfillment and consumerism, Steven Wilson has produced an album that speaks directly to a global population in the throes of pandemic isolation and confusion. While Wilson's work has had longtime appeal within prog-rock circles, the musical approach of The Future Bites displays a kinship as well to both accessible pop and bands like Radiohead, though the enduring appeal of concept albums to the progressive-music community also maintains that connection. "All hail to love, and love is hell/The self can only love itself," Wilson sings in the short opener "Unself" before going on to further examination in the funky rock of "Self.
Steven Wilson fans have been primed for The Future Bites since he released To the Bone in 2017. That record, and the preceding 4½ EP, were deliberately "pop" responses to his three-album dalliance with prog -- Raven That Refused to Sing, Hand. Cannot. Erase, and Grace for Drowning. In contrast to ….
A bold reinvention for the modern progressive rock giant that will polarize his audience. Steven Wilson's brand of forward thinking progressive rock has undergone some major changes these past five years. With each release since The Raven that Refused to Sing, Wilson has slowly evolved from 1970s progressive rock elements and embraced more contemporary musical styles. Electronic and even a little bit of pop music crept into his solo career and the recent revival of his side project No-Man.
M uch to the chagrin of hardcore elements of his fanbase, the one-time "king of progressive rock" is exploring dance, electronica and contemporary pop these days. Wilson has rebuffed their cries that it's "not prog" by emphasising an artist's prerogative to develop and challenge audience expectations. The 51-year old's sixth solo album is the one-time guitar virtuoso's least guitar-oriented collection yet.