Welcome To My DNA
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/19/2011
Welcome To My DNA is ostensibly weaker compared to Blackfield’s previous two efforts. But this is not an album that simply embraces its weariness and gives up in defeat. However, on first impression, this is exactly how this record comes across – lethargic tunes backed by soporific string arrangements with a sense of dullness that haunts the album like a bad stench.
Even after multiple spins of DNA, it reveals nothing new hidden within its apparent plainness. There aren’t any truly outstanding tracks on this record, and it seems as though the band left behind the concept of catchy songs with the previous records. The heavy abundance of string arrangements accompanying most of its numbers might reckon DNA as Blackfield’s most lush record, but they are so often than not mere fluff.
However, beneath DNA’s unremarkability is an album that is no disaster. Collectively, the songs on this album make it a pop-rock record that might not be spectacular, but definitely something that can be appreciated. With very little spark in terms of ideas, Steven Wilson and Aviv Geffen are still able to make the best with their exceptional compositional skills. For instance, on the band’s most “emo” song to date “Go To Hell” Geffen not only sings the words “fuck you all, fuck you” in his least pissed off manner, but in a cleverly calming lullaby tone, turning something jarring into something cheeky.
The band’s juvenile emo-style lyrics still linger here, with Geffen minding almost all the songwriting on this record. Consequently, boyish discontent like “Life is running out, I guess I had enough; I need to go now” (on “Glass House”), “All the stupid bitches on the diamond day; soon they’ll fade away” (on “Dissolving With The Night”), and “DNA, welcome to my DNA; stupidly who wants to stay with my DNA” (on “DNA”), are expressed with fervor. But the coy string arrangements on the album take the edge off some of the crass lyrical moments and turn them into something more tolerable.
In addition to the slow and tranquil arrangements pacifying the din of youthful angst on DNA’s mostly sore numbers, the singing of the words isn’t punished with dramatized affliction either. The compositional genius of this duo is their ability to turn wasteful angst into melodious pop songs.
Blackfield has lost the spark that they possessed with ardor on their debut and also – to a lesser extent – on their sophomore effort. But this duo hasn’t lost their way. Tight and tuneful numbers is what Wilson and Geffen sought to create when they originally formed this outfit, and this is exactly what they achieve on DNA.