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Blackfield - Welcome To My DNA CD (album) cover

WELCOME TO MY DNA

Blackfield

 

Prog Related

3.50 | 170 ratings

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Antennas
4 stars "...Goodbye old friend, my Paranoid, We'll meet again, some day..."

Finally, here's the much-awaited third installment from Blackfield - that rather unexpected, unlikely, if not to say surreal collaboration between the British stiff-upper-lip über-nerd, Master Producer/singer/guitarist Steven Wilson and his Israeli counterpart - friend, emo-rocker, peace-activist and rebel - Aviv Geffen. While the majority of fans might have expected it to be called 'III', in line with the two earlier albums, this one actually carries a genuine title - 'Welcome To My DNA', and I'd like to say that it reflects on the music as well. However much still being a typical melodic, melancholic Blackfield-outing, this one is indeed a mite different from the pair's earlier outputs.

Don't worry, Blackfield still provides being the perfect alternative/refuge for all of those who feel like Mr. S.W. hammed it up a bit too much on his latest outputs with his main band, the much heralded Porcupine Tree , with which he increasingly incorporated heavy metal/industrial influences. As I myself quite appreciate those, I didn't mind that at all, but I did look out for this third Blackfield-outing to provide the much desired for counterbalance to that heavier stuff of his, as I must admit appreciating his - and Geffen's, of course! - lovely, intimate 'little' 'pop' songs just as much.

These differences don't yet show on the opener 'Glass House', a typical intimate, very melodic, orchestrated song, combined with highly melancholic lyrics, '' ...life is running out, I guess I had enough, I need to go now...'' The next song, however, is a genuine shocker! 'Go To Hell' gives us S.W. and Aviv singing "F*ck You All, F*ck You, I don't care, Go To Hell!" - NOT exactly what I expected to hear on a Blackfield-album ...

To understand the background of this album and quite a few of those rather prosaic lyrics, it should be noted that this is more Mr. Aviv Geffen's than Mr. S.W.'s album. As told many times by S.W. himself, his Israeli emo-rocker-friend quite often got too little credits for his work on Blackfield's former outputs, and it's rather obvious that S.W. wanted to set things right, here, claiming only ONE track - 'Waving' as his own on this entire album. Not just that - Aviv Geffen's background as rebellious Middle Eastern-peace activist quite shines through from all of the lyrics, and it's not that hard to see where his inspiration's coming from, considering the situation in his homeland and the countries surrounding it. S.W. has claimed that he at times doesn't want to sing Geffen's texts, as they sometimes are just too 'political' for his tastes, but apparently the ones on 'DNA' got the Green Light from him, and I'm very glad about that myself. Yes, I think they * work *, but I can well understand not everyone agreeing with me on this.

Some of the (many) highlights on this album, as I won't name them all... Not surprisingly, most of these happen to be among the most 'oddball' songs - very surprisingly, however, all of these are to be found on the second part of the album:

'Blood' - a dark, brooding, and even heavy song, obviously inspired by the Middle Eastern struggles going on over there. You just feel there's something 'nasty' looming in the background during this fantastic song. I just love the Arabic elements incorporated in this song, truly adding up to a genuine 'symphonic feel', which of course doesn't hurt either.

'On The Plane' - an intimate ballad, expressing 'loneliness' in both its lyrics as well as with its instrumentation, the moody slide guitar from 'Christenings' of Blackfield II making a welcome and fitting reappearance over here. Very personal lyrics from Geffen, about being a lonely child always waiting for his absent father, fantastically sung by the both of the guys - a perfect little intimate trademarked Blackfield tune.

'Oxygen' - very melodic, even 'poppy', this song. Geffen's vocals are immaculate over here, he truly sounds desperate in his account on '... so far away, we've lost the way - there's no oxygen left, on our planet'', which I interpret as a metaphore to his desperation about the never-ending warfare which is so apparent in his part of 'our planet'. According to the liner notes, one Mr. Trevor Horn has helped producing this one, and it shows the old Yes acquaintance hasn't lost his tricks yet!

'Zigota' - this one, in particular, is THE highlight of this album. WHAT a beauty! A remake of this earlier song by Geffen (it's on his 'Memento Mori'-album), this comes as close to progressive rock as Blackfield will ever manage. It starts off with S.W. singing very diminutively, over a Hammond organ-based orchestration, which adds up and becomes more and more symphonic over the course of the song. It's awesome, and yes, it even reminds me of S.W.'s classic 'Radioactive Toy' in certain ways - the organ, the slow, crescendo psychedelic background - any a fan shouldn't be allowed to miss out on this one. 'Don't you cry, don't you cry, you are just an Accident of Stars'' - what a heartbreaking line, how more melancholically poetic can it get?

' DNA' - the perfect, subtle - but very bittersweet - conclusion of this album. Initially an acoustic guitar-tune, it builds up very progressively, backed up by awesome string arrangements. Beautiful lyrics, ''Always remaining the same, my DNA (...) My deadly venom, soon we'll be dead. Go now, my love, Go now, and never come back... '

I'll be the first to admit it, the lyrics on this album, however emotional, and at times even prosaic, manage to touch my heart. I truly understand this won't go for everyone though, and some may even dislike this album for this very reason.

Musically, this one's a little less easily accessible than their two earlier outputs, but it does stand its ground - if you're just able to give it the time it deserves to discover the beautiful sad-but-uplifting melodies, the great singing jobs of both S.W. and Aviv, the fantastic orchestration, the outstanding job of all musicians involved, and of course, the pristine-as-ever production/mixing job by S.W., who once again proves himself as the current top in production/mixing.

My verdict: a well-deserved 4 stars. Perhaps 4 and a half for those who, just like me, LOVE the combination of sweet, melancholic and highly melodic prog-pop with highly emotional sung lyrics, perhaps 3, for those who don't appreciate the indeed at times 'over the top' emotional, if not right-out prosaic lyrics. Your's to choose which side your on.

''Trust me, there's no get away, from my DNA'' - AMEN to that, Blackfield!

Antennas | 4/5 |

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