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stevenwilson thefuturebites
Artist: Steven Wilson
Title: The Future Bites
Genre: Progressive Future Rock / Pop
Release Date: 29 January 2021
Label: Caroline International

Album Review

STEVEN WILSON, one suspects, would never be content with a fried egg sandwich. The bread would soon morph into brioche, or a nice home-made floured bap. To the eggs he’d have to add herbs, black pepper, maybe some mushrooms… but then it’s not just a fried egg, no, no, no, it’s an omelette, and why not? Leave out the bread, add some damn cheese! In fact, make a stack of cheese omelettes and call it an “Egg-Deluxe Tower”! And cook this outside! Who needs a kitchen! Make it, like, a “World Egg-Deluxe Tower”, and invite leaders from each continent to come and sing their National Anthems around it, while dipping asparagus tips into the gooey, sticky mass…

This, one suspects, has been STEVEN WILSON’s approach to music making over a long recording career, and it has clearly done him no harm. As PORCUPINE TREE and a solo artist, he has released hugely successful records and embarked on world tours, and fills whatever spare time he has after this lot by being a producer, re-mixer, collaborator, and jittery, fidgety side-project obsessive. And possibly expert egg sandwich maker.

‘The future Bites’ returns to previous STEVEN WILSON concerns - consumerism, greed, isolation, social media and online facelessness - and wraps it up in a COVID-19-times shroud to make this very much a “now” album. Strangely warm, and avoiding on the whole the creeping paranoia and claustrophobic heavy breathing of ‘Fear Of A Blank Planet’-era PORCUPINE TREE, there’s almost a told-you-so resignation here to the current state of things. Not so much conspiracy theory, more a shrug and a roll of the eyes at the inevitability of it all.

The centre-piece of ‘The Future Bites’ has to be ‘Personal Shopper’. It’s crisp, electronic Pop, burbling along on just the right side of preachy, before none-other than the queen of shopping himself - Sir Elton John - joins in the fun to deliver a list of stuff he probably bought this morning while munching through his cornflakes. It’s a less quirky and cool ‘Ok Computer’, but retains RADIOHEAD’s visionary state-of-the-nation blankness. Report, not judge. Elsewhere, there’s a futuristic disco vibe funking about on ‘Self’, some nicely floating vocals soaring in and out on ‘King Ghost’ and a classic 70s feel to ‘12 Things I Forgot’, like FREE jamming with THE EAGLES in a quiet little bar somewhere off the M25.

There’s a dirty groove snaking about on ‘Eminent Sleaze’, and a gentle MOR settles you in on ‘Man Of The People’ before some distorted and gorgeous vocal effects and occasional blasts of dramatic guitar jolt this back into the here and now. ‘Follower’ somewhat lets the side down, a BILLY JOEL bounce and horribly caustic rawk, marking this out as a kind of ‘Consumerism - The Musical’ also-ran. Horrible. Thankfully, ‘Count Of Unease’ drifts into view immediately after and makes everything alright, closing the album in beautiful, haunting style.

Predominantly electronic, which suits the subject matter admirably, ‘The Future Bites’ is a timely and important album dealing calmly with the current hysteria surrounding a world that feels at once hurtling out of control, while standing absolute still in lock-down isolation. And it takes some skill to pull that off. Imagine him cooking you a three-course dinner?


01. Unself
02. Self
03. King Ghost
04. 12 Things I Forgot
05. Eminent Sleaze
06. Man Of The People
07. Personal Shopper
08. Follower
09. Count Of Unease


Steven Wilson

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Cover Picture

stevenwilson thefuturebites


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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