This album is meant to be listen in full.
As was the case with many major releases, dates were pushed back from 2020 into 2021 in response to the pandemic for fear of exhausting creativity.
I think they should have just gone and released the full thing and moved on. I held my hat to those who went ahead with releases last year as new music could certainly serve as a tonic for enduring lockdown. Considering the way things have gone for the live music business and the ever sense of uncertainty, there’s no point but to continue creating and shipping in the present circumstances.
The design of the overall record is that it generally should be experienced as a play-through album and I find it quite frankly irritating that artists are finding themselves compromised with this during the streaming, algorithm era where the push out of singles is more an act of racing for attention than an actual artistic statement.
‘The Future Bites’ is an interesting listen. Steven Wilson has gone more down the synth and electronic stylistic pathway and to anyone who looks closely at his catalogue, it is of no surprise that he would pursue this further.
The response on social media, typically propelling the loudest angriest voices, cried betrayal of Wilson selling out, going pop and leaving behind his guitar driven, progressive pathway. It will be completely expected that he will disregard this noise, as with many of the artists that have influenced Wilson, he is never eager to repeat himself and continue to evolve.
It is perfectly fine to not dig the aesthetic and many of my friends much preferred the records where Guthrie and Marco offered their instrumental virtuosity to Wilson’s artistic vision. As they are fellow musicians, that’s an understandable stance.
I am enjoying the record. The production and sound design as always is stellar, in particular, the synth work in ‘King Ghost’ and the accompanying animated video from Jess Cope.
The key thing that continues to make SW captivating is his ability to make an album focus on contemporary themes with clarity and relevance albeit with a familiar sense of melancholy and doom. ‘The Future Bites’ is very much about our interactions with technology, identity, behaviours and consumerism. There is subtle humour and irony amongst the songs. Whilst Wilson critiques social media, there is the self awareness that he is equally as any of us required to interact and to an extent, depend on the technology available to us.