Hand. Cannot. Erase.

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Hand Cannot Erase cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released27 February 2015
RecordedSeptember 2014
StudioNo Man's Land (Hemel Hempstead)
AIR Studios (London)
Angel Recording Studios (London)
EastWest Studios (Los Angeles)
ProducerSteven Wilson
Steven Wilson chronology
Drive Home
Hand. Cannot. Erase.

Hand. Cannot. Erase. is the fourth solo studio album by English musician Steven Wilson. The album was released on 27 February 2015 through Kscope.[3]

Writing and recording[edit]

The album was recorded in September 2014 at AIR Studios, London, UK.[4] All band members of the previous album are also featured on the new recording.[4] When discussing the lack of Theo Travis's input on the record, Steven Wilson described the album as less "jazzy" in comparison to the previous album, featuring only a few parts written for flutes and saxophones.[5] Wilson also described the album as more reflective of all of the different material in his back catalogue, featuring elements of electronic music and straightforward pop songs alongside long progressive-oriented tracks.[5] Alongside Wilson, the album features Ninet Tayeb on vocals, and the sequences featuring boy choristers is inspired by the track 'All of the Love', from The Dreaming, an album by Kate Bush.[6]

Themes and concept[edit]

According to Wilson, the album is written from a female perspective, and the concept and story are inspired by the case of Joyce Carol Vincent, where a woman living in a large city dies in her apartment and no one misses her for over two years, despite her having family and friends.[7] Wilson explained:

"The basic story, or concept of the record – it's about a woman growing up, who goes to live in the city, very isolated, and she disappears one day and no one notices. There's more to it than that. Now, what's really interesting about this story is that your initial reaction when you hear a story like that is, 'Ah, little old bag lady that no one notices, no one cares about.' [Vincent] wasn't [like that]. She was young, she was popular, she was attractive, she had many friends, she had family, but for whatever reason, nobody missed her for three years."[7]

Release and promotion[edit]

The album was released in February 2015.[8] A deluxe version of the album was also made available as well.[8] Wilson and his band embarked on a tour through the UK and Europe in March and April 2015 in support of the album, with a setlist that was "based around the new album, of course, as well as casting the net further back into [his] past for a few surprises."[9]

Music from the album started being released to the public in January 2015, when a teaser trailer was released online, accompanied with a link to a blog written by the album's main character – a reclusive artist who writes about her interest in people who go missing and her talent for hiding in public.[10] On 4 February 2015 a video for "Perfect Life" was released via Wilson's official YouTube channel.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
All About Jazz[14]
Classic Rock8/10[15]
The Guardian[16]
Metal Hammer[15]
Record Collector[19]
Rock Hard8.5/10[20]

Hand. Cannot. Erase. received acclaim from critics. Metacritic, a review aggregator, gave the album a weighted average rating of 89 out of 100, indicating universal acclaim, based on reviews from 8 critics.[12] The Guardian rated the album five stars and called it "a smart, soulful and immersive work of art".[16] Eclipsed magazine described the album as "one more shining jewel in the discography of Steven Wilson. Modern, disturbing, brilliant!" Metal Hammer awarded Hand. Cannot. Erase. 6/7 and described it as "another masterpiece".[15] US website FDRMX rated the album 4.8/5 and stated "Hand. Cannot. Erase. grabs your full attention from the beginning to the very final note, and that's the sign of a great album".[1]

All About Jazz awarded Hand. Cannot. Erase. 5 stars and said "As someone capable of delivering accessible music that is, at the same time, compositionally and lyrically deep—detailed and, at times, unapologetically complex—Wilson makes absolutely no compromises in doing what he does".[14] Another 5 star review appeared in the March 2015 edition of Record Collector, who praised the album's "Spellbinding poignancy and aching beauty".[19]

German magazine Visions declared Hand. Cannot. Erase. to be "The Wall for the Facebook generation".[22]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Steven Wilson.

1."First Regret" (instrumental)2:01
2."3 Years Older"10:18
3."Hand Cannot Erase"4:17
4."Perfect Life"4:46
6."Home Invasion"6:24
7."Regret #9" (instrumental)5:00
10."Happy Returns"6:00
11."Ascendant Here On..." (instrumental)1:54
Total length:65:44
Deluxe edition disc 2 (CD)
1."First Regret" (demo)2.28
2."3 Years Older" (demo)11:47
3."Hand Cannot Erase" (demo)4:52
4."Routine" (demo)10:06
5."Key of Skeleton" (demo)4:06
6."Ancestral" (demo)13:42
7."Happy Returns" (demo)5.42
8."Last Regret" (demo)3:08
Bonus material (Blu-ray)
1."First Regret" (alternate mix)2:04
2."Hand Cannot Erase" (radio edit)3:29
3."Perfect Life" (grand union mix)7:45
4."Routine" (Ninet solo vocal version)8:58
5."Regret #9" (alternate take)4:17
6."Happy Returns" (radio edit)3:54


Digital version
1."First Regret / 3 Years Older"12:19
2."Hand Cannot Erase"4:17
3."Perfect Life"4:46
5."Home Invasion / Regret #9"11:29
8."Happy Returns / Ascendant Here On..."7:54


Adapted from Hand. Cannot. Erase. liner notes.


Additional musicians


  • Steven Wilson – production, composition, arrangements, artwork design
  • Dave Stewart — arrangements, conducting, transcription
  • Steve Price – string engineer
  • Laurence Anslow – engineer
  • Steve Orchard – engineer
  • Lasse Hoile — artwork, photography, film director
  • Hajo Mueller — illustrations
  • Carl Glover – design, layout


Chart (2015) Peak
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[24] 12
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[25] 26
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[26] 34
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[27] 24
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[28] 2
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[29] 4
French Albums (SNEP)[30] 47
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[31] 3
Italian Albums (FIMI)[32] 29
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[33] 277
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[34] 11
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[35] 10
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[36] 58
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[37] 33
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[38] 17
UK Albums (OCC)[39] 13
UK Rock Albums (OCC)[40] 1
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[41] 2
US Billboard 200[42] 39


  1. ^ a b "Steven Wilson: 'Hand. Cannot. Erase.' Album Review". FDRMX. 4 February 2015. Archived from the original on 11 March 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  2. ^ O'Brien, Jon. "Steven Wilson | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Steven Wilson Announces New Album And March 2015 UK Tour". Stereoboard.com. Retrieved 19 November 2014
  4. ^ a b "Steven Wilson at AIR Studios – September 2014". Steven Wilson official Facebook page. Retrieved 10 September 2014
  5. ^ a b "Steven Wilson at AIR Studios, London – September 2014". Steven Wilson official YouTube channel. Retrieved 3 October 2014
  6. ^ "Steven Wilson at AIR Studios – Part 2: Concept and Inspiration". Steven Wilson official YouTube channel. Retrieved 4 November 2014
  7. ^ a b "Steven Wilson Explains New Album's Concept and Inspiration". Ultimate Guitar. Retrieved 19 November 2014
  8. ^ a b "Steven Wilson to Release "Hand. Cannot. Erase." in February via Kscope". Progsphere. Retrieved 19 November 2014
  9. ^ "Steven Wilson confirms 4th studio album and tour". TeamRock. Retrieved 19 November 2014
  10. ^ "Steven Wilson’s haunting teaser campaign". Prog. Retrieved 1 January 2015
  11. ^ "Steven Wilson – Perfect Life". YouTube Retrieved 4 February 2015
  12. ^ a b "Hand.Cannot.Erase. – Steven Wilson". Metacritic. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  13. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Hand. Cannot. Erase. – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Steven Wilson: Hand. Cannot. Erase.". All About Jazz Retrieved 27 February 2015
  15. ^ a b c "Steven Wilson – Official Facebook Page". Facebook Retrieved 22 February 2015
  16. ^ a b "Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase. review – sonic and spiritual modernity ". The Guardian Retrieved 26 February 2015
  17. ^ "Steven Wilson: Hand. Cannot. Erase". PopMatters. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Steven Wilson: Hand. Cannot. Erase". Q. No. 344. March 2015. p. 118.
  19. ^ a b "Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase. ". Record Collector Retrieved 27 February 2015
  20. ^ "Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase". issue 334.
  21. ^ Kuettel, Benjamin (27 February 2015). "Album Review - Steven Wilson: Hand. Cannot. Erase". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  22. ^ "Steven Wilson – Official Facebook Page". Facebook Retrieved 27 February 2015
  23. ^ "Steven Wilson Reveals Tracklisting, Artwork for 'Hand.Cannot.Erase.'". Empty Lighthouse Magazine. Retrieved 5 December 2014
  24. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase." (in German). Hung Medien.
  25. ^ "Ultratop.be – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase." (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  26. ^ "Ultratop.be – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase." (in French). Hung Medien.
  27. ^ "Steven Wilson Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase." (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  29. ^ "Steven Wilson: Hand. Cannot. Erase." (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  30. ^ "Lescharts.com – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.". Hung Medien.
  31. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase." (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  32. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.". Hung Medien.
  33. ^ "ハンド・キャンノット・イレース" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  34. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.". Hung Medien.
  35. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  36. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.". Hung Medien.
  37. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.". Hung Medien.
  38. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.". Hung Medien.
  39. ^ "UK Albums Chart".
  40. ^ "UK Top 40 Rock Albums". BBC. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  41. ^ "UK Top 40 Rock Albums". BBC. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  42. ^ "Billboard 200".