It’s been six years since Blackfield have release another album since their previous two albums, Welcome to my DNA and Blackfield IV. This year, they have released their fifth album on the Kscope label entitled, Blackfield V. And it shows that both Steven Wilson and his friend Aviv Geffen are back in action. The album was recorded in 18 months between Israel and England. In my opinion, it is very much a conceptual piece of 13 songs that are linked of a Ocean themed song cycle.
For me, it’s been a few years since I’ve listened to their music after hearing their third album and after reading about them in PROG magazine. So listening to their new album, I can tell they are back in form. A Drop in the Ocean starts with a string arrangement done by the London Session Orchestra that has this romantic score done in the styles of the Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed that features the sections done by Peter Knight and The London Festival Orchestra. It then kicks off with Family Man.
Steven starts off with a bang on the vocals as the song deals with the struggle on being the best family and the stress that comes with it as the sections between guitars, drums, synths, and bass are very powerful with an escalating sound. At times it reminded me of Panic Room’s Satellite and bits of The Raven That Refused to Sing-era. But it’s the ballad piano composition of How Was Your Ride which shows Aviv’s songwriting with a strong and questionable view with lyrics such as “We’re leaving tracks on the ground/It’s too late/So why pray now/You cynical bastard?”
He and Wilson work well together since their formation thirteen years ago and I could tell they have each other backs by recording, writing, and singing together. Aviv’s vocals are tender and very passionate. It may take a few spins to whether they will like it or not, but I admire his arrangements on We’ll Never Be Apart. It has this alternative rock sound as the song deals with the success and achievement and never letting music go away.
It can be your best friend and will be your friend forever and ever until the day you die. Sorrys feature an acoustic and string section setting with an emotional background on the son’s deal on the father he never knew who abandoned him for seven years and trying to find him and finding out why he left him. Steven comes back and returns with Lately. It is an optimistic composition and he is just sending his heart out when he sings.
Almost as if you are riding on your motorcycle and riding off into the sunset while October sounds very much an animated rock musical (non-Disney) that fits perfectly that I can imagine him writing this and give Disney a real message on how to write a song. Again, his vocals tugs your heart and there are moments on the piano that have some bits of a piano concerto and imagine the audience being in tears and being blown away of this song.
It is going to become one day a live favorite and hopefully receive a standing ovation for this. Then, Blackfield take a break from their songs and delve into the instrumentals which is Salt Water. Featuring the acoustic guitar and electric sliding guitar rides and I can imagine Elmer Bernstein doing the conducting whilst writing the score on the string session. Wilson, Geffen, Tomer Z, and Eran Mitelman who worked on the string sessions, quite well. Eran did a great job and he deserves a huge amount of credit for helping out to create the scores on the fifth album.
Because I can imagine he worked on his butt to do the string section to create a lush, emotional, and powerful orchestral and symphonic sound. That and the closing track, From 44 to 48 is Steven’s reflection from his day as a teenager, early to late 20s, 30s, and into his late 40s. The song deals with growing older, taking responsibility and letting go of the dreams.
He knows that he had succeeded from Porcupine Tree and as a solo artists and those guitar chords are moving forwards in time to see what he has done and it ends well to close the curtain. Blackfield’s return not just shows Wilson and Geffen welcoming for a job well done, but their fifth album is one of the most emotional and strong releases I’ve listened to. Let’s hope they return and tour to support their new album in Europe, Israel, and here in the States.