For his sixth solo studio album Steven Wilson has carried on the trend started in his previous album “To The Bone”. With a focus on pop hooks and electronic production, “THE FUTURE BITES” explore themes around consumerism, social media, sleazy business tactics, the consequences of fame and the ways that society has become more self interested.
Songs like “PERSONAL SHOPPER” and “EMINENT SLEAZE” follow the themes of consumerism from the perspective of the buyers, the sellers, and the people who own the companies to which the first two categories are beholden to. Both have a great pop sensibility, with there new wave and art pop style mimicking New Order’s “Blue Monday” and Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time” respectively.
Other songs look back on Wilson’s own career. “KING GHOST”, the third single from the album, is similar to the classic track “Drive Home” from “The Raven that Refused to Sing” in its atmospheric processed vocals and cooling tone, while also carrying forth the electronic percussion and falsetto of his track “Song of I” from his previous release.
Looking back even further you get a throwback to his early Porcupine Tree days with the wonderfully acoustic and sing along “12 THINGS I FORGOT”, the very pretty acoustics of “MAN OF THE PEOPLE” and the beautiful ambient track “COUNT OF UNEASE”.
While this is another step into a more pop centred aesthetic, Wilson’s song writing has not suffered, being able to touch on many complex issues, while not taking himself too seriously. Intended to be a visual experience as well as an auditory one, the advertisements and music videos for the album foreshadow what will be a treat of a live tour, once COVID – 19 restrictions are lifted and it is safe to be a consumer in person again.