Fresh

Blackfield-V


It’s been quite easy to write off the state of Blackfield’s future within the last few years, especially given both Aviv Geffen and Steven Wilson have had busy lives within the music world. Wilson has had one foot in creating some of the most inspiring music of his career with latest effort Hand.Cannot.Erase and the other in remastering timeless progressive rock records. Geffen has concentrated his efforts in being one of the four coaches of the Israeli version of The Voice, and notably spent more time with music outside of Blackfield. Yet both artists seemingly haven’t forgotten one another, given that 2017 sees the release of Blackfield’s self-explanatory fifth record, V. Up to the release of this album, there were many who had thought that Blackfield had unfortunately lost much of what made the project’s first two records so simplistically engaging and emotionally raw, yet one listen to V will sway such opinions.

 

Make no mistake, V is definitively the work of a fresher, more meaningful sound, using collaborative efforts in equal measure from both of the project’s creators. The album’s true success isn’t in its compositions, but rather in the delivery. Songs such as “Family Man” and “October” explore dramatic, enriched soundscapes that parallel whatever emotional impact each respective song is based on with little effort. Wilson’s engaging instrumentation and Geffen’s unmistakeably sincere vocal interplay-and vice versa, as it happens-culminate in some of the finest-written songs known in Blackfield’s career history. Even the two instrumentals-opening salvo “A Drop in the Ocean” and “Salt Water”-stand out in their own way thanks to elaborate instrumental panache, erasing any danger that their vocalless nature may mean being forgotten about or overshadowed by V’s more evocative moments. The album explores numerous tones and emotions, never descending too far into a focus on woe or depression, and because of this the likes of “We’ll Never Be Apart” and “Life is an Ocean” prove ultimately uplifting just when you think Blackfield would go on to represent a one-trick pony.

 

V‘s true success however is in its climactic nature. Each song here builds to a beautiful, almost surreal ending which makes for a consistent feeling of completion, a cycle which never ends yet at the same time also makes sense for what it does. Some climaxes are more dramatic than others, of course. The classical compositions of “We’ll Never Be Apart” and “Life is an Ocean” are both enriched by piano melodies and haunting albeit raw vocal delivery, whereas the more rock-driven likes of “Lately” and “The Jackal” give way to a sound which utilizes modernized musicianship to the full effect. Admittedly, there are mis-steps here and there, and fans of Blackfield’s heavier material will likely be annoyed by most of the album’s unwilling nature to truly intensify the moods. Yet what is already here works brilliantly, and there isn’t a whole lot more that could be interpreted for the sole purpose of improvement.

 

Time will tell, but V could well be Blackfield’s finest effort yet. The fluent and consistent songwriting here is made memorable because of its relation to real-life emotional impacts, something which Blackfield had been known to emphasize from the get-go of its career. Wilson and Geffen may have had their hands full outside of this project, but they have really excelled themselves this time. Let’s hope the future holds more of this to enjoy.

 

4.1/5

Released: 10th February 2017

  1. A Drop in the Ocean
  2. Family Man
  3. How Was Your Ride
  4. We’ll Never Be Apart
  5. Sorrys
  6. Life is an Ocean
  7. Lately
  8. October
  9. The Jackal
  10. Salt Water
  11. Undercover Heart
  12. Lonely Soul
  13. From 44 to 48

Bandpage/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blackfieldhq/

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