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V

Blackfield

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4 stars Give it a few tries. After having impossibly high expectations since the first two Blackfield albums are two of my favorite albums ever, it was hard not to feel disappointed on my first listen. I was ready to give this three, maybe even two stars. But after a few more listens, I realized that it didn't need to sound like the first two records to be a good record in its own right. And there's definitely a lot to like, although there are a few moments that I blatantly disagree with. Opener "Family Man" plays a similar role to that of "Open Mind" from the first record, starting the album with a rocker. "How Was Your Ride?" is just classic Blackfield, a dreamy melancholic track that might be one of the best on the record. Other highlights for me were "October" (an absolutely heartbreaking track), "Sorrys", and the brilliant closer titled "From 44 to 48", which is just melancholia at its finest. There's a lot to like about this records, just don't let your unreasonably high expectations get the better of you.
Report this review (#1669785)
Posted Monday, December 19, 2016 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
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4 stars After two albums dominated by Aviv Geffen comes the fifth album by Blackfield labeled as another collaboration between Aviv Geffen and Steven Wilson. But is it really a comeback to Blackfield and Blackfield II that the press release makes it sound like?

I haven't really been much of a Blackfield fan over the years but did enjoy some of the material on Blackfield and Blackfield II. Once Steven Wilson's contribution began to fade on Welcome To My DNA and Blackfield IV I stopped listening to the band completely. Once I heard that the new album would be released in late 2016 (this was later changed to early 2017) and that Blackfield V will be a return to a collaboration between Aviv Geffen and Steven Wilson I immediately pre-ordered the record.

The first teaser of the album came in the form of Family Man EP that was released in late 2016 and featured Family Man, How Was Your Ride? and Sorrys. These three tracks sounded like Steven Wilson was back in the band since both Family Man and How Was Your Ride? featured him on lead vocals and the sound of these compositions seemed like something that Wilson might have written. This is why I was completely surprised when I found out that all of these three compositions were in fact written Aviv Geffen. When the album finally arrived and I browsed though the songwriting credits I was even more surprised to see that only 3 out of 13 tracks had Wilson's contribution (two on which are co-writing credits). I was also saddened that the previously marketed collaboration with Alan Parsons as producer was only limited to three tracks (How Was Your Ride?, We'll Never Be Apart and The Jackal).

With all these setbacks I was actually surprised that the final record is in fact pretty solid and shows that Aviv Geffen is a much better songwriter once he collaborates with Wilson. Two of my favorite moments on the record are October and Undercover Heart and feature some of the most heartfelt lyrics by Geffen. The vocal contribution by Wilson on October is very different from anything that he has done before and I was initially unsure if it in fact was Wilson that was singing. I also really liked Lately and From 44 To 48, the latter being the sole songwriting contribution by Wilson (A Drop in the Ocean and Life Is An Ocean are co-written by Geffen and Wilson) but I lack the emotional punch to these tracks compared to previously mentioned October and Undercover Heart.

Overall, I was surprised that Blackfield V managed to changed my mind completely on the importance of the collaboration between Aviv Geffen and Steven Wilson. Geffen is a great songwriter and has almost perfected the 3 minute pop song format. Wilson might not be as active on the songwriting front but his vocals and arrangements make it clear that his contribution to Blackfield is very important. This is easily my favorite Blackfield release since their debut so if you're a fan of Blackfield then you should definitely give this album a go.

***** star songs: October (3:31) Undercover Heart (4:02)

**** star songs: Family Man (3:37) How Was Your Ride? (3:58) We'll Never Be Apart (2:54) Sorrys (2:58) Life Is An Ocean (3:26) Lately (3:24) The Jackal (3:56) Salt Water (2:39) From 44 To 48 (4:31)

*** star songs: A Drop In The Ocean (1:23) Lonely Soul (3:42)

Report this review (#1696833)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Blackfield 1 and 2 were two of my favourite albums, I've listened to them regularly since I first acquired them, welcome to my DNA and IV were quite frankly dreadful, Steve Wilson's input obviously the missing factor. Then came news of Blackfield V, the cover picture indicating the return of the collaboration and style of the first album was a very welcome sign of things to come, I wasn't disappointed. The album is not the same as the first two, it's better! The sound and make up of the songs are very different and need more than one or two listening's to fully appreciate. I'm not going to give a description of each track as I like them all, though the 2nd to last track, "Lonely Soul" reminds me a little too much of a TV theme tune, the name of which currently escapes me. At 44 minutes I found myself wanting more, a good size for vinyl but hardly fills a CD or blue-ray, which incidentally I would heartily recommend as well worth the extra pound or two. Finally upon reading the credits I find Steve Wilson's input on the song writing to be much less than I thought, His production and musical skills still shine through on what can only be described as an absolute triumph of song writing from Aviv Geffen, sir, I forgive you for Welcome to my DNA and IV!
Report this review (#1703161)
Posted Saturday, March 18, 2017 | Review Permalink

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