When Steven Wilson decided that his solo career would be in primary focus, it left bands like Porcupine Tree, Blackfield and No-Man in doubt. Blackfield is continuing as a solo project of Aviv Geffen and one would think Tim Bowness could have done the same with No-Man but he didn’t. No-Man, for me, has always been more about Tim than SW. Mostly because Tim’s voice is so distinctive that No-Man felt like SW was supporting him! Obviously it was a partnership though and with any partnership or band, there is compromise.
When Tim began his solo career last year with “Abandoned Dancehall Dreams,” he finally was able to show the world what he could do without SW. “Stupid Things That Mean The World” has followed quickly as Tim clearly has a lot of material and is enjoying the freedom. What this freedom means is that, while he is still quite melancholic, musically he can stretch out A LOT more than he did in No-Man.
Sure there are songs like “Sing to Me” that could easily fit on a No-Man album but since it’s a long forgotten and never finished idea from that band, it will of course have that feel to it. But it’s the diverse nature of a song like “Press Reset” or the flat-out rocking of the title track that make this album very much a solo affair. Tim’s voice is definitely the centerpiece as it should be and he still has a very emotional delivery that makes songs like the soft and elegant “Everything You’re Not” and the theme for a dying person “Know That You Were Loved” all the more powerful and emotional.
Another thing that makes this album amazing is the musicians that Tim used. Bruce Soord of The Pineapple Thief mixed the album and is featured on many tracks. Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin is also on some tracks including “All These Escapes” which to me sounds a bit like the Porcupine Tree b-side “Chloroform,” thanks mostly to Edwin’s bass line!
While there is no doubting Steven Wilson’s talent, he was not the only talent in No-Man. In fact, “Stupid Things That Mean The World” is every bit as emotionally charged as “Hand.Cannot.Erase.” Perhaps this album will give Time the proper credit he deserves and maybe we should also consider No-Man a super-group from now on!
1. The Great Electric Teenage Dream
2. Sing To Me
3. Where You’ve Always Been
4. Stupid Things That Mean The World
5. Know That You Were Loved
6. Press Reset
7. All These Escapes
8. Everything You’re Not
9. Everything But You
10. Soft William
11. At The End Of The Holiday
Label: InsideOut Music