When Steven Wilson gave us the majestic Grace For Drowning in 2011 it seemed like an unquenchable outpouring of stylistic experiments that still coalesced into a whole. While hard to love, it was a towering achievement.
This follow-up is a more restrained six songs across 55 minutes (though there are a number of formats available, including a 2-CD, DVD and Blu-ray box set), with Wilson focusing on Victorian horror stories, taking inspiration from the works of Edgar Allan Poe and the Welsh supernaturalist Arthur Machen. It’s an album concerned with resonance and echoes from the past: the imprints that are made on locations by individuals’ passions and life-forces; in that sense it has a lingering quality that lilts somewhere between the pastoral and the esoteric.
As with Grace For Drowning, there’s a merging of Canterbury jazz with a smoothly progressive symphonics and heavier rock outlook. Anyone looking for Wilson’s intriguing twists and turns won’t find them here, though. Despite the eclectic background material, it feels like a consolidation rather than a development.