BLACKFIELD- Blackfield II (Atlantic Records)
Featuring renowned modern prog guru Steve Wilson, BLACKFIELD is a collaboration between he and Israeli pop artist Aviv Geffen, and they achieve a nice balance to complement each of their respective styles with their second album Blackfield II
. There are no 10-minute epics to be found here, just a collection of easy listening soft rock songs that often recall more mainstream bands like COLDPLAY and RADIOHEAD. These songs were all clearly written in the conventional 'pop' structure on purpose, thus the arrangements are more of the standard variety than for example Wilson's main band PORCUPINE TREE, whose sound is nonetheless still present in some places. It's clear that Wilson and Geffen are both top-notch songwriters, as this isn't at all removed from the level of similarly-inclined bands getting major airplay on the radio today. A lot of the music here is melancholic and reflective, feelings that are echoed by the equally somber lyrics. Not much to remark about this release otherwise, definitely not a bad record but it's probably not something that will be getting a lot of plays from me in the long run.
A steady, propulsive drum beat opens the album on "Once", a song that introduces all the elements of the BLACKFIELD sound but is a little 'heavier' (if that word can be used) than the other songs, with of course an immediately memorable chorus. One of the songs that I really dig is "1,000 People" because of its great keyboard use and more pronounced prog rock feeling, recalling some of David Gilmour's work. After these two songs things start to fall off and begin sounding a little too passive to keep my attention, though songs like "My Gift of Silence" and the closer "End of the World" bring some pretty decent melodies, mostly provided by the piano/keyboards.
Well-written, well-executed, and overall not something I'm gonna complain about. Blackfield II
is a good album, if a little bit 'plain' to my ears. Bet this would be a good winter album though, so as the days grow shorter and colder I'll be sure to spin it some more.