by Travis Becker, Healer
of those without need.
Blackfield is the latest expansion of the
mind of Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson and collaborator, Aviv Geffen, who
may be the lesser known of the two in America, but who has several Gold
albums to his credit in his native Israel. Blackfield's debut release,
which has already achieved success overseas, is a breath of fresh air.
Far from a preachy Middle-East peacekeeping mission or another chunk of
Rock fluff, Blackfield has achieved an album, which is at once both simple
and harrowing and sundry and uplifting. The band has been an on and
off experiment for it's founders in song writing and recording since 2000
but the end result proves to be impeccably crafted and completely listenable.
It's a super group whose members are unknown to most of the popular music
world but who achieve what most super groups can't, real chemistry and
From the opening notes of "Open Mind",
which contain a haunting passage of CSN-esque vocal harmonies, it's clear
that Wilson and Geffen are both immensely talented. Another section
of the song follows that slams into the rest of the music with such intensity
it threatens to derail the whole song and create a train wreck of rock
power. Then the song falls back into delicate harmony again.
The build up and break down is brilliantly done, I found myself on the
edge of my seat, waiting for a Dream Theater cover to erupt, at several
points. The record has a huge sound that never loses its sense of
intimacy, like a 60's peace and love sing along attended by the London
Symphony Orchestra. The album continues to keep the listener on his
feet throughout the record with carefully placed flourished of piano, keyboard,
and exceptional guitar. There are even hints of Middle-Eastern strings
and a little Drum and Bass thrown into the mix for good measure. Blackfield
remain in the singer/songwriter realm but never feel overly self-pitying
or hokey. These are two veteran musicians saturating this music with
heart and soul in every note.
The influences and comparisons are so multifarious
that it is difficult to know where to begin. From traces of Oasis
in "Blackfield" to an almost "Empire"-era Queensryche feeling in "Open
Mind" and big hunks of Nick Drake and Love scattered all over the album,
there is definitely something familiar to hold onto here. It's almost
like traveling in a foreign country with all the comforts of home.
The blend of acoustic and electric instruments mirrors the harmony of the
earth and stars. The music washes over the soul like warm salt water
on a beach somewhere far away from the chaos from which both men hail.
The three bonus tracks at the end are a nice addition as well, and the
five-piece band that toured on the album's release proves formidable as
well on the live version of "Cloudy Now", which trumps the studio take
easily. It's hard to recommend this release to everyone, like the
opening line of the album suggests, an open mind is recommended, but if
you're desperate for something different that won't slide easily into one
genre or another, this is for you.
a friend about this article
What Do You Think?
Fanspeak removed due to spam and abuse