Album review: Blackfield’s ‘Welcome to my DNA’

Blackfield
Welcome to my DNA
Burning Shed
March 28

By Michael Walsh

Steven Wilson is a bevy of things away from Porcupine Tree.

With No-Man he’s the driving musical force behind the band’s dreamy trip-hop sounds,with Bass Communion he’s the creator of his pseudonym’s pulsating ambient creations, by himself he’s the producer of some of modern rock’s most psychedelic music and with Blackfield he’s the saving grace.

Blackfield is a collaborate project between Wilson, a progressive rock wizard, and Aviv Geffen, an Israeli-born musician. Welcome to my DNA marks the third album between the two and while an okay effort, consequently is the least impressive so far.

There is nothing progressive about Blackfield, and that’s important to remember. The music is strictly art rock and often soft. Coming from a long line of feverish psychedelic rock and a foray into more modern but always unique progressive undertones, the easy listening sounds of previous albums Blackfield and Blackfield II were fresh for Wilson. But in Welcome to my DNA I found the project getting stale.

I’m all for an artist straying from his expected norm. And part of Wilson’s norm still remains in Blackfield’s latest album. His guitar still attacks the senses and the Brit’s voice still paralyzes the senses with its strange ability to soothe, but there just isn’t enough interesting going on to stay impressed or keep caring.

Some have criticized Wilson’s lyric-writing abilities on Porcupine Tree’s most recent albums, but when they hear some of Geffen’s gems (he wrote all the songs – Wilson was busy with other projects while Geffen prepped DNA) they’ll realize how competent Wilson is.

Second track “Go to Hell” is a horribly bad parody. “Fuck you all, fuck you / Fuck you all, fuck you / Fuck you all, fuck you / I don’t care, I don’t care, anymore,” sings Geffen before going on to repeat “Go to hell” more than enough times. It’s a pitiful track and the repetitive music behind it does nothing to help.

“Waving,” the only song written and composed by Wilson, is the most Wilson and Porcupine Tree-esque song. Fans will know the intro’s guitar right away and when Wilson’s familiar voice begins to soar over the track they’ll feel in a right place. Unfortunately, “Waving” is only one of the few redeemable gems on the album that is mostly repetitive lyrical junk and soft art house rock.

It does pain me to bash this album. I enjoyed Blackfield’s two previous albums and have been a longtime defender and fan of everything Wilson gets his hand on. But Welcome to my DNA just falls flat. It’s an okay album and I’ll still probably listen to it and the rest of Blackfield’s music from time to time just because Wilson’s voice and music can pull me in to anything. I just can’t recommend it to anyone else.

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