For me, it represents the very best of progressive rock of the 21st century.
There is not a weak track on the album and the whole thing flows more smoothly than a pint of Guinness.
The album is genuinely more 'progressive' than recent offerings and my joy is unbounded at the fact that the electric guitar plays such a prominent role.
'West Winds' is indeed a cracking track,with the middle section as full of magnificent malevolence as I have heard for many a day, as is the penultimate track 'Deep Blue World'.
However, the final, 27+ minute 'almost title' track is simply mind-blowing. Tracks of this length usually feel a little disjointed but this one does no such thing. It 'ebbs and flows' and changes direction beautifully whilst still retaining a captivating hold on you.
When I first got the CD, I played this track continuously for about a week, before going back to playing the full CD.
As Bruce Soord (songwriter) himself says, the best TPT 'builder' so far.
If you liked the earlier TPT of 'Variations' (or if you are a fan of Porcupine Tree or early Radiohead), you should love this.
Actually, if you love music that is truly progressive in that it is never contained within any set parameters, buy this.
A massive album from a band that deserves to be much, much bigger.
I love The Thief. At their best they can rock, wax lyrical, experiment with sound tone, sparse lyrics, acid melodies. At their best they can fill an album with extraordinalrily tuneful tracks and harmonies in typical progressive fashion: sometimes with guitar to the fore, always with a lyrical and melodic beauty totally of their own making.
And yet....every time they nearly make it for me but not quite. There are just some small flaws each time, tracks that mirror other melodies too closely to be distinguishable, a need for a greater clarity of sound, perhaps breadth of tone, experimentation with broader keys, to get that 5 stars. Its coming, I can feel it...but not yet. The albums with shorter tracks on them should be pruned down and made leaner (10 stories Down excepted). This album could be the same. The title track, following several dozen listens has clicked into place for me. It is an exceptional piece of music with strangely odd synergies with The Moody Blues, Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd. Melodically different, (more sharp tone) it reflects Porcupine's Anaesthetize from Fear of A Blank Planet. It takes you on a journey, as you might expect because of its length, twists and turns along the way and leaves you very satisfied with the travelling: satisfied that you have been somewhere. With scant lyrics, the music focuses on tone, structure, feeling, sentiment and is deliciously experimental. Some of the other tracks are content to lurk in the shadows and they pull the album away from excellence by not complementing the title track, imbalancing the album. I would love to see this band complete a single track album. Just go for it.....then I think the 5 stars will come because they will break the barrier that just holds them back from producing an album that has total coherence.
But buy this CD and you will be early there! For at least 27 minutes it is genuinely beautiful, new and moving.
Although I still think that "Variations on a Dream" was their best album, their latest "What we have sown" is a good album.
Avid fans will undoubtedly disagree, but personally I think the first track is the strongest, while the last is a self indulgent exercise in seeing how long one track can get. Having said that, I like many parts of the final track, but it could so easily have been halved in length and no one would notice. I would have liked another track (or two) and had the final track brought back to say 12 minutes.
For anyone who'd bought or been pleased with their other work that this will be a must, however for the uninitiated, this might be the wrong album to start with.