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Blackfield - Welcome to My DNA CD (album) cover




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3.39 | 269 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This third release by Blackfield, known here due to the involvement of Steven Wilson, continues the collaboration's between one of the most prolific musicians in art/prog music and Israeli singer/songwriter Aviv Geffen. I found Blackfield enjoyable for the most part, Blackfield II laborious, but not quite disappointing, and now with Welcome to My DNA unpleasant in exactly the ways I was expecting.

The songs are short, warm, melancholic, and filled with lush instrumental sounds. They have the stellar production values we've come to expect with anything bearing Wilson's name, and the combination of background sounds - strings, keyboards, guitar textures - is the overwhelming highlight of this album. The writing is serviceable for the album's goals, and is actually sometimes quite interesting, such as in the jaunty and drifting "Waving," or the intensity and time changes in "Zigota." Mostly, though, the songs are just nice.

But this is a "pop" album, so there's bound to be plenty of singing for "normal" people to "enjoy." (OK, no more "excessive" finger quotes).

Wilson's vocals are smooth as always, though noticeably more bland then in his principle works. He sits comfortably in his middle register and doesn't give the listener much to walk away or help connect with. Remember the soaring passion heard in Hand.Cannot.Erase? Or maybe the skillful inflection on In Absentia's "Trains"? There isn't an ounce of that here. Ironic, given that Blackfield albums are meant to be emotional pop records. Geffen's vocals are not as good. In fact... they're actually quite unpleasant. In timbre and inflection he comes across as sniveling. Suffice to say that it's distracting and draws the ear away from the fine tones and chords of the music in the background. However, the real strike against Welcome to My DNA is the puerile lyrics, which sort of grumble their angst-filled way from song to song. Some of them are genuinely bad, others are offensive, some noticeably poetic, but mostly they're just boring.

If this were an instrumental album, then I'd be on-board and enjoying the experience much more. The vocals, and therefore the album simply don't work for me, and unless you're a 100% die-hard Steven Wilson fan-boy, it probably won't for you either (as it turns out, I'm only a 99.9% fan-boy).

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 2 - Lyrics/Vocals: 1 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Prog Leviathan | 2/5 |


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