Newest Review: ... only a few tracks - notably "Pain", with it's heavier, moody verses and soaring chorus. Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree's long st... more
"Here's a song from an open mind"
Blackfield - Blackfield
Member Name: Midrange
Blackfield - Blackfield
Advantages: Slick, coherent songs, good musicianship and tight production
Disadvantages: Lyrically feel immature at times or lacking depth
Steven Wilson (front man of British progressive rock band "Porcupine Tree") and Aviv Geffen (a close friend of Wilson's and something of a star in his homeland of Israel) team up to create the rock band "Blackfield".
Wilson commented in an interview that his vision for Blackfield was to produce a set of true "songs" on this album. Porcupine Tree, his lead project, are known (and championed) by their fans for writing extremely complex and often lengthy tracks - not so radio friendly, but great fun for the keen progressive rock listener!
Wilson's voice dominates in this album - slightly thin, slightly reedy, but oh so wonderfully layered and harmonised. Geffen's thickly accented voice shines on only a few tracks - notably "Pain", with it's heavier, moody verses and soaring chorus. Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree's long standing drummer) is incredibly restrained on this album - very much in fitting with the "simpler" approach to song writing and performance. This is not to say that the drumming is boring though - it's executed precisely and, from time to time, Harrison has a little fun in some of his fills. As far as the other instruments go, the album is quite exquisitely put together - atmospheric synths and strings, gentle guitars that just seem to brush past you (see title track "Blackfield") and some very neat electric guitar work. No extended guitar solos, no lengthy passages of riffing - just clean and simple music. Very well produced too - everything comes through sharp and clear. Wilson oversees the production of all his work and is a tyrant for perfection!
So musically, this album is great. But what about the actual SONGS? Well, the title track stands out - bleak, harsh, beautiful, "Blackfield" paints a detailed picture of this mysterious place, with talk of cycle paths, paper bags and the haunting line: "Summer tracks, face facts, painted black...". The piano intro of this piece is lovely. Check out the video on YouTube as well - very clever concept.
Other highlights (for me at least) include "Lullaby" and "Cloudy Now" - both beautiful in their sadness. Unfortunately, I find many of the tracks a little lacking in the "lyrics department". "Pain" and "Hole in Me" both feel rather empty - though I can appreciate the emotion that the songwriters (Wilson and Geffen) are trying to express. The follow up album (rather disappointingly titled "Blackfield II") highlights still further the slightly "school boy" reminiscing style of the lyrics. There's lots of allusion to lost love, yet it's not dealt with in a particularly mature fashion.
To conclude, I feel this album has enough highlights on it to make it worth the money (I've seen it around for about £6 - well worth it). Production is flawless and the music (ignoring the lyrics) is consistently strong. If you're a fan of PT's "quieter" songs like "Heart Attack in a Lay-By" or "Mellotron Scratch" then I imagine you'll like this a lot. If, on the other hand, you're into their heavier work, then you may be disappointed.
Summary: A fine set of songs, a worthy side-project for Steven Wilson