Snapper Music, 2004

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


The one thing that is most impressive about Blackfield is that it sounds nothing like Porcupine Tree. Blackfield, a collaboration between Israeli singer/songwriter Aviv Geffen and Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson, might have had a very limited listener base had it not been for its tie-in with Porcupine Tree. However, to the dismay of the prudish Porcupine Tree fans, who might find this project too pedestrian, there is little to no trace of “Porcupine Tree” in it.

In my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Wilson’s own words, Blackfield is an outfit that set out to create tight pop songs, which is purely what this eponomously titled debut record consists of. Blackfield is an uncomplicated pop-rock album; still, in its unassuming way, it is filled with elegance and has many moments of brilliance.

Even in keeping the music fairly straightforward, the production is immaculate and rich like it is in a Porcupine Tree record. Even the simplest cut on the record, “Lullaby,” is as lush and full of minutiae as the most elaborate cut, “Scars.” In many ways, the album has a psychedelic Brit-pop feel of a less flashy Tears For Fears.

Most songs on this disc revolve either around a simple hook (“Lullaby,” “The Hole In Me,” “Blackfield”) or an amazing chorus (“Scars,” “Pain,” “Hello”), and clock in at under four minutes. However, in order to appreciate the record’s strengths and really enjoy it, one needs patience because at first, it seems quite bland. But soon enough, the uninteresting simplicity wears off to reveal some of the most amazing pop-rock numbers that the post-grunge movement has ever produced.

Not just the music, but the lyrics and the song themes too are straightforward, and for the most part, a bit too boring. Mostly involving love and drugs, the lyrics say it too much like it is, to the point that they come across as artless and emo-like, which sticks out like a sore thumb in this otherwise extraordinary collaboration.

Blackfield is just another project that shows the versatility and the prolific nature of Steven Wilson. To the credit of Wilson Geffen, the duo has managed to create a band that not only is great, but also has a unique sound, given the generic nature of its music. For the prosaic “top-40” pop-rock world, Blackfield is a breath of fresh air.

Rating: A-

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© 2008 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Snapper Music, and is used for informational purposes only.