Album Review: ‘Blackfield V’ by Blackfield

The most-anticipated wait for the fifth Blackfield album comes to a satisfying closure as Steven Wilson and Aviv Geffen collaborate with aplomb
Genre: Rock (Art Rock) | Label: Kscope | Year: 2017

The release date of Blackfield V was pushed further and further until February 10 was finalised, but by then, we had the chance to taste the then officially-released ‘Family Man’, ‘How was your Ride?’ and ‘Sorrys’. The bold approach that they seemed to have taken in these three songs was already making its presence felt, and the album, in its full form, lives up to that expectation.

image credits: Blackield (Kscope Records)

Simplicity is the one word I’d use if I had to describe this album in a single word. With Aviv Geffen’s hauntingly earthly vocals in songs like ‘Sorrys’, ‘The Jackal’, ‘We’ll Never Be Apart’ and with Steven Wilson’s typical ‘realism’ touch for the most part of the album’s remaining vocal lines, Blackfield V seems to have found the appropriateness that the two musicians need to keep whenever they work together from here on. The signature choruses only contribute to that claim as they keep your thoughts flying in the air like a kite while you stay tied and hooked to the music.

Instrumentation-wise, you won’t find much of the technicalities if you consider the prog elements per se(there might be some repetitiveness here and there as well), but once again, the simple arrangements of a bunch of instruments, the space-rock-like setups for every track (‘Life is an Ocean’, ‘The Jackal’, etc.) feels excellent when blasted through a good sound system. In a way, this is one of those albums which can be listened to, either by picking your individual favorites or by playing the full length in one go. For the major part of the album, acoustic elements are generously used(‘Sorrys’, ‘Lately’, ‘From 44 to 48’, etc.), while some form of digital influence could also be seen, as you’d find, for instance, in ‘Lonely Soul’.

It’d be tough to compare Blackfield V with their first two albums which are considered as the best works that the duo has ever produced, mainly because Blackfield V is more about experimenting into various territories rather than staying consistent like the first two albums did.

The experimentation works most of the time, might fail sometimes but makes up for the pitfalls by giving out some really groovy comebacks. The track list is a mix of rapidness and patience, it’s a well-mixed cocktail of the expressions of grief and joy. Overall, it does manage to touch your soul, while avoiding to be in-your-face about itself.

In the end, this is definitely one of the albums which should ideally take the collaboration of the two musical geniuses forward. It deserves multiple loops and listens and you’d love to do so, because the song-lengths are mostly short.

The fact that Blackfield V redefines, in a very beautiful and an artsy way, as to what Blackfield means to its listeners, is enough to express that SW and AG are back together — and for good!

Track list:

A Drop in the Ocean (1:36) | Family Man (3:39)

How Was Your Ride? (3:59) | We’ll Never Be Apart (2:55) | Sorrys (3:08)

Life is an Ocean (3:27) | Lately (3:25) | October (3:31) | The Jackal (3:57)

Salt Water (2:41) | Undercover Heart 4:02)

Lonely Soul (3:51) | From 44 to 48 (4:31)

Total length- 44 minutes

My Favorites- Family Man, Sorrys, Life is an Ocean, Lately, The Jackal, From 44 to 48

Rating: 9/10

(Technicality&Genre-Loyalty- 8| Songwriting- 9| Consistency-9)

Give it a listen, and let me know what you think of Blackfield V.