You know when you’re talking to anyone 50 and older and they’re complaining about how rock and roll is dead, and they inevitably ask what rock music today is still good? Well after listening to 4 ½, I’m convinced you could do worse than to show them Steven Wilson, a producer of fine progressive rock mixed with a steady stream of electronic influences.

The problem is it’s still not nearly as powerful as what’s on offer these days, if those same doubters would just be willing to go faster, heavier, or even softer than what’s being offered on this album. 4 ½ is not a bad release, mind you, it’s just underwhelming. The heavy is not that heavy, and that same “scaled-down” concept can be said for its experimental, electronic, jazz, and rock parts.

There are some good ideas, even some parts that sound eerily similar to Behold The Arctopus (which I’m guessing can be attributed to his collaborations with Opeth). There are some infectious melodies and vocal harmonies that stick with you long after the album is over. Hell, I can even see myself putting this on to act as background noise when I come home to visit my parents. But it will never be something I find myself looking for to fill in my time.

Overall, 4 ½ sounds exactly like what it is: a collection of recordings with fleshed out interludes to make it work like a coherent release. 4 ½ is fan service for people who are already fans of Wilson’s other projects, a release that admits it’s only there to keep people’s attention while Wilson creates another full-length. For the rest of us, it’s just sort of a strangely average prog rock album.

Track Listing:

01. My Book Of Regrets
02. Year Of The Plague
03. Happiness III
04. Sunday Rain Sets In
05. Vermillioncore
06. Don’t Hate Me

Run Time: 37:11
Release Date: January 22, 2016

Check out the song ‘4 1/2’ album trailer here.