Recommended Albums #24

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Blackfield: Blackfield II (2007)

From a perhaps overzealous endorsement of this album I posted on another site a few years ago, only the final paragraph is worthy of reproduction here:

This is rock music with beauty as it’s defining characteristic; sophisticated, wondrously arranged stuff that can be played softly or loudly to equally enjoyable effect. Songs that straddle the lands of “dark” and “catchy”, two musical land masses which I previously thought didn’t share a border. This is music which doesn’t employ hooks but tendrils, the more deftly and permanently to attach itself to your brain. And once it’s there you’ll be glad of it, except for the itch you’ll feel to turn everyone else on to the perfection you now hear.

This album does indeed wrap itself around you, bathing you in its dark, morose glories.

Samples of the record’s gloomy lyrical vocabulary:

Silence, pain, fears, tears, anger, emptiness, alone, freezing, coldness, dark, storms, nightmares, wounded, killer, killing, die, dying, scream, cut, thorns, poison, epidemic, bleeds, jealousy, crimes, prison, lies, sin, blame, ignorance, fools, slaves, gutter, hell, devil, funerals, hopeless, disease, and dead.

So a Styx album it ain’t.

However, it’s the unlikely pairing of the album’s dark vision with glorious harmonies and beautiful arrangements that makes it so unique. If any other band comes to mind listening to Blackfield II it might be Pink Floyd. But mostly this band is an original, and have forged their own sound, inhabiting a place at the crossroads of the melodic and the melanic.

Blackfield is the duo of Brit Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree and a dozen or so side projects) and Aviv Geffen, a renowned and somewhat controverisal Israeli pop/rock icon. It would seem a unlikely pairing, but musically their compatibility is undeniable.

Listen to: “Once”

Listen to: “1,000 People”

Listen to: “Miss U”

Listen to: “This Killer”

Listen to: “My Gift Of Silence”

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