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Blackfield - Blackfield II CD (album) cover




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3.73 | 426 ratings

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2 stars Like the first Blackfield output, this is a good album (perhaps better than the first), but it nevertheless has no room getting high ratings on a progressive music site.

This release shows Wilson and Geffen expanding their collaboration, sounding like a couple of guys who actually worked together on a release. Geffen's contributions are more present and more well- developed. However, there really is nothing much new offered by Blackfield II. The melancholic atmospherism of earlier Blackfield tracks like Glow is mostly not around here. Instead, the music is built mostly on a singer/songwriter feel. Some of the parts are heavier than any on the first release, and the lyrics are even darker and more upset (a major feat, to be honest). However, like the first, this is just a collection of mostly mature pop, not really moving beyond the standard realm of short and simplistic tunes or even dabbling in the idea of a particular album cohesion. The sound is wonderful, as we've come to expect from Porcupine Tree's main man, but even still, no amount of clever production can turn average pop songs into high quality progressive music releases.

It all begins with Once, a track that delves in the heavier side of things for parts of its length. It is very similar to Open Mind off the first Blackfield. 1,000 People is a sad and lonely tune, in keeping with the album's theme. Miss U, complete with a very 90s title, is a whining and sad tune about missing somebody (big surprise, though I will be honest and admit that before I read the lyrics, I was hoping it would be about Mississippi University and not the obvious teenage drama it implies). Christenings is the first song really worth something on here, being one of Deadwing's myriad lost B-sides. An acoustic number with an upbeat vocal melody, it actually drags the album out of its mire of self-pity for a few (too few) minutes. It's followed by self loathing in the form of This Killer, another pop tune with little to stand out about it. Epidemic, however, is another of the three quality tracks here, beginning with a haunting little piano melody and building to a guitar solo and some powerful vocal harmonies. Unfortunately, to temper this onslaught of quality, the next three tracks explode with mediocre pop sounds. They aren't bad, just... normal, I suppose. The album closer is the strongest track here, with the two splitting up the verses between them and crying out in heartbreaking harmony for the chorus. The production, the sound, and the songwriting all line up wonderfully on this song, and this might just be a necessary listen for fans of Steven Wilson.

A par to sub-par album filled with mostly generic pop tunes, Blackfield II builds on the first with a few nice songs that rise above the rest, but even so, only serious fans of Porcupine Tree should bother checking this out as a prog release.

LiquidEternity | 2/5 |


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