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Album Reviews : Blackfield – Blackfield V

By on March 15, 2017

In keeping with the enigmatic career of former Porcupine Tree main man Steven Wilson himself, this album is a conundrum wrapped in a mystery. But a highly enjoyable one nonetheless.

This time, the man of many talents, and whose musical career has encompassed so many flavours, palettes and textures, has teamed up with a bloke called Aviv Geffen, a rock musician who is a legend in his home country of Israel. In fact, this is far from their first collaboration. These two have been working together since the early 2000s.

As you would expect, Wilson’s stamp is absolutely all over this record. His distinctive voice and vocal stylings carry the day from start to finish, and this alone will obviously make it sound like a Steven Wilson album. But his writing and instrumentation style, and the unique tones and colourings he uses, are everywhere you look (or listen) on Blackfield V.

At the same time, it certainly doesn’t sound like a PT album. It is far closer to his solo works, although the influence of Geffen gives it a different bent as well. It is more wistful and ambient, there are virtually no traces of proggy heaviness to be found here. So they are walking a very fine line very skilfully here: this album will absolutely appeal to fans of Wilson’s solo albums, whilst still avoiding coming across too much like one.

There are some great songs on offer here. The Jackal is bluesy, catchy and ambient all at once, Salt Water is a sweet, string enhanced instrumental that channels The Beatles and Pink Floyd in equal measures (in fact, those two influences are prevalent across the album’s length), Family Man is full of momentum and is probably the closest thing to a PT track on this album, and We’ll Never be Apart is just a great, fun, uplifting song. I’m not sure which track has been or will be used as a single, if any at all, but this would be a great choice.

This album, despite having the Steven Wilson moniker and signature sound on it, has actually been out for a few weeks at the time of writing, and seems to have slid past without great fanfare. Take this advice: don’t let it slip past you, check it out now. You will thank me later.

Band: Blackfield
Album: Blackfield V
Year: 2017
Genre: Ambient progressive rock
Label: Kscope
Origin: England/Israel

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.