Just one project on the long resumé of Steven Wilson, the art rock project Blackfield explores the dreamy side of rock music. The project's fifth record Blackfield V is full of dreamy textures, big orchestras paired with the occasional guitar riff in between.
The album gets off to a start with 'A Drop In The Ocean,' a dark but sweet string instrumental. It goes straight into the urgent sound of 'Family Man,' Wilson's voice crooning over the spidery guitar riffs and bright bassline, complete with his signature timbre that lacks any personal connection. The choruses are very progressive, while the verses remain interesting with their smooth textures. This song is pretty ironic in the sense that recently Steve Wilson acknowledged how he does not desire to have a family - that would prohibit his ability to create more music. It's an interesting stance to take, but given the sheer amount of music he releases annually and his signature vocal style, it's not all that surprising.
Some of the best numbers on this record are found near the end. One of the best songs is 'The Jackal,' its confident cowboy guitar riff and bluesy vocal delivery giving it a lot of character. The southern overtones paired with the old-fashioned strings that dreamily accompany the vocals in the chorus really give the song a lot of atmosphere. The electrifying guitar solo also gives it a huge energy that isn't much present elsewhere on the record. The sincerity of the track 'Undercover Heart' also stand out on the record, the dramatic atmosphere and straightforward lyrics oddly working together in just the right ways. The song is completed by the female harmonies in the choruses.
The problem with this record lies in the fact that it has a heavy focus on the orchestras. A lot of times on this record, it feels like they put more effort into composing the one component of the track rather than focusing on what's going on as a whole. Lots of songs are pretty and sweet to listen to, but there are few that really have energy in them.
Blackfield wil definitely put you in a dreamy trance in Blackfield V, but you might find yourself getting lost in what you're listening to. It's a pretty record, but it lacks energy and personality in a lot of places, bringing it down. The genius of Steven Wilson can't always be perfect.
Favorite Tracks: The Jackal, Undercover Heart
Least Favorite Track: Sorrys
Rating: 72 / 100
Buy or listen to Blackfield V here: