With his excellent The Future Bites, launched at the beginning of 2021, Wilson had plunged without restraint into a universe of electro textures which had served him wonderfully well. The Harmony Codex picks up where it left off with Inclination, the first track which launches the hostilities with a punchy synthetic rhythm which nevertheless invites you to let your imagination fly. Conversely, What Life Brings is all that is most accessible, no electronic manipulation on the horizon, we are here in a very Floydian spirit, an inspiration that Steven Wilson has always claimed – the homage can be heard here even in the David Gilmour-style Stratocaster solo.
We continue to oscillate between these two poles on the following two pieces: the very beautiful Economies of Scale diffuses an airy atmosphere which is placed at odds with the deconstructed digital pulsations while Impossible Tightrope is a progressive exercise of almost classic, with changing time signatures, guitar, saxophone and organ solos with the added bonus of Emerson Lake and Palmer-style melodies. A treat that old prog fans can happily enjoy for almost 11 minutes.
The singer-songwriter, however, stops procrastinating from Beautiful Scarecrow onwards: the best song on the album is driven by a dense tribal rhythm and a guttural bass line above which a disturbing Arabic melody emerges. He stays the course until the end with the delicate arpeggios of Time Is Running Out, the gothic accents of Actual Brutal Facts and the exuberance of Staircase, a trio of high-end and resolutely modern songs which testify to the direction which now best suits Steven Wilson.