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Cover Version

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Album Review

Between 2003 and 2010, Steven Wilson released six CD singles, each featuring a cover version backed with a new original song. Titled, appropriately enough, Cover I through Cover VI, the first of these singles was significant because it was the first release issued under his own name. All of these were almost ridiculously limited. The titles were all compiled before — when Cover VI was released, the other singles were included in a lavishly designed box — but this marks the first time all 12 tracks have been widely available. The music presented here is performed completely solo save for chamber and orchestral elements on some tracks that were added on later, and showcases a different, more intimate side of Wilson. On some of these readings, such as Alanis Morissette's "Thank You," he accompanies himself solely on acoustic guitar. His vocal performance is restrained, vulnerable, and revealing. His reading of the Cure's "A Forest" is not only moody but almost angry. It's startlingly industrial even with such a skeletal mix; its loops are downright creepy. Another highlight is the English folk song "The Unquiet Grave," which has been recorded by everyone from Joan Baez to Weezer. Wilson's reading is taken to nearly avant boundaries, but it loses none of its resonance. The funk in Prince's "Sign 'O' the Times" is brittle and somewhat jagged, and displays both admiration for the original and Wilson's sense of humor. Among his originals, highlights include "Please Come Home," which juxtaposes a catchy hook and jaunty melody with a desperate lyric. "Four Trees Down," with its prog architecture and canny percussion, would have been right at home on more recent offerings. "Moment I Lost," a ballad played on piano and acoustic guitar, contains orchestral accompaniment. The penultimate cut here is a ghostly, lovely take on Donovan's "Lord of the Reedy River" (from HMS Donovan). Using the sparse acoustic nature in the songwriter's version, Wilson's is just as slow, but his layered backing vocals and pointed, brief electric guitar break and twinkling keyboards and ambience add another dimension. With a more minimal approach in both instrumentation and production, Cover Version may be less formal than his later solo work, but it is no less creative, well-conceived, or executed; therefore it is just as enjoyable as his later work. Having these singles now available in one place is a prize for fans who missed them initially.

Customer Reviews

Just listen!

The best sounding album I have every listen to in my life. The first thing I noticed was how pure the sound is. If you are familiar with Steven Wilson's ability to make sure the sound is as pure as possible you will be amazed. On to the music. The music is wonderful and beautiful. Steven Wilson please keep up the great work and continue sharing your creations.

Heart shattering.

I've never felt this way before. Tears are streaming down my face. Thank you, Steven. This is such a moving, elegant record.


Born: November 3, 1967 in Kingston-upon-Thames, London, Eng

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Thanks to a prolific work ethic that puts even Damon Albarn's extensive list of side projects to shame, self-taught producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist Steven Wilson has gradually become one of the U.K.'s most critically acclaimed cult artists. Born in Kingston Upon Thames in London in 1967, Wilson was inspired to pursue a career in music after devouring his parents' Pink Floyd and Donna Summer records, and by the age of 12 he had already started to experiment with different guitar and...
Full Bio
Cover Version, Steven Wilson
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Customer Ratings