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Blackfield - Blackfield CD (album) cover




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3.81 | 449 ratings

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5 stars It's been my experience that often the most hypnotic and meaningful songs come from heartbreak, abandonment and disappointment. And those of us who take a certain comfort in those themes love to commiserate. I think that's what brought Steven Wilson and Aviv Geffen together. They both had sad songs that didn't fit into the repertoire of their bands but they still wanted to present to the world nonetheless. And, though progressive music rarely produces lyrics that one can readily relate to, these are some of the most honest words I've ever come across in the genre. Those of you who've had their hearts and dreams shattered at some point in their lives will be able to connect with these tunes and those of you who haven't. Well, just consider yourself fortunate and enjoy the great ambience.

"Open Mind" is a little deceiving because it's more like Porcupine Tree dynamically than any other tune you'll hear. Steven sings "Here's a song from an open mind/I give it to you because I can" and that's probably because writing is all he has left after a falling out. The realization that you no longer have any affect on the lover who has moved on without you is a hollow feeling, indeed. The orchestration in the second half is gorgeous. "Blackfield" seems to be about a girl who has a thing for graveyards but the singer just wants her to leave there before it gets dark. It's a great song excellently arranged. "Glow" features a Rhodes piano with an orchestral score and is a lament for happier days that seem to be far behind. "The days go by and nothing brings me joy/The glow was strong when I was a boy/But it's gone." When Jeremy Kaplan's strong drums come in it's a welcome emotional release. The rhythm track and drum sound for "Scars" is reminiscent of Peter Gabriel's "Digging in the Dirt" but there the similarity ends. It's about someone who can't let go of the ever present hurt because it's the only thing he owns anymore. "All that I got left are my precious scars," he cries. The lush symphonic score is awesome.

"Lullaby" is just piano and a string quartet but it is one of the best songs on the album. It describes the dichotomy of dealing with someone who is so detached from reality that all they can do is respond with negativity to any positive concept. "Share my cup/Tie me up/Never part/Break my heart/Go to sleep/Wound me deep/Be at peace/Make me bleed." If you've ever been close to someone with serious problems you know exactly the frustration he's expressing. "Pain" is all about the helplessness one feels when love becomes a stranger. "All my friends now try to save me/What a joke, what a joke" the singer shares with us. "Summer" has another good melody line and its melancholy feel compliments the chorus of "Heart needs a home/It's a dark and empty road/When you're alone." The next tune is another that has a Porcupine Tree flavor, especially when it gets to the intense refrain at the end. "Cloudy Now" is more of a reflection on society as a whole rather than individual misery with "There's wealth in the bank but there's nothing to show inside." And they don't mince words about what they feel is the prevailing condition of their generation. It's a stark, powerful statement.

"The Hole in Me" is an interesting song that alternates between a 5/4 verse and a waltzing chorus. It's about trying to drown the pain. "What have I done?/Treat me tonight like a movie star/Who will never die/Always surrounded by girls like you/Kill all my loneliness," he pleads. "Hello" is a dreamy, piano-led song with yet another stellar melody. It sums up a lot of their shared feelings of devastation in one tune. "Through a different kind of silence/I'm waiting, I'm wasting/Into the road of sadness/I'm walking without you." It's an incredible piece of music and lyrics. The bonus tracks are good but they have a slightly demo quality that separates them from the rest. "Perfect World" is decent and "Where is my Love?" with its chiming guitars and candid statement of bewilderment fits right in. The live version of "Cloudy Now" doesn't add anything to the studio track but it's still just as ruthless.

I keep waiting for Steven Wilson to let me down but he never does. He just continues making music that I can grab onto. Here he has found a kindred spirit in Aviv Geffen and together they have created a near-masterpiece of personal expression and experience. I get the feeling that this was a true catharsis for both of them and, for those who can relate, it's a remarkable album that you'll treasure for many years to come. I have to give it at least 4.6 stars.

Chicapah | 5/5 |


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