Album Of The Year?

I know it’s only February, but I’ve already found a strong contender for Album Of The Year! All that will follow now has to pass this one!

I’m talking about the second album from Blackfield, the side project of Porcupine Tree‘s Steven Wilson. Together with his partner in crime Aviv Geffen, who’s already a big name in his home country Israel, Blackfield serves a second offering of pop gems. Now, to be honest, there’s not too much room for invention left in pop music nowadays; there’s hardly anything you haven’t heard before. Blackfield must be aware of that fact, so instead of re-inventing the wheel, they chose to polish the rims and put on a new set of tires to it! And while listening to the album, one realizes that this was the perfect decision.

Blackfield II starts off with Once, the song that has been available for quite a few weeks now on MySpace. While it is not a bad song, it left me a bit disappointed when I heard it for the first time. I just missed that certain something that puts it on the same level as their previous works, but on the album, it works as a great intro. Everything that follows now is just superior! 1’000 People sees Wilson confronting his mixed feelings up there on the stage, whilst on the powerful Miss U, Geffen proves that he doesn’t need to hide behind Wilson when it comes to singing and writing (a fact that wasn’t so obvious on their first album). Christenings could almost fit on a Porcupine Tree-album, and This Killer creeps up slowly and surrounds you with its soothing melody. And then on to the one song that really blew me away: Epidemic. It is nothing but genious how this song is built around a few piano notes and evolves into a masterpiece of epic proportions. Absolutely stunning! My Gift Of Silence convinces (again!) with a wonderful chorus, and Some Day is another epic with a drop-dead gorgeous orchestral ending. Where Is My Love was already on the Special Edition release of their first album, and still is a great song which fits perfectly here. And as if all this wasn’t enough, Blackfield saves another gem for last. End Of The World sums up the sheer talent and creativity of these two exceptional musicians and closes the album with one of their best songs to date. It’s almost impossible not to push the play button again after the final notes.

In comparison to the debut album, Blackfield II takes another big step forward and adds a bit more of everything that made the first album great. The fact that Aviv Geffen had a bigger influence this time (he wrote 7 of the 10 songs) may be one reason. But the real magic is that even though there are lots of string sections and catchy melodies, Blackfield manage to never sound shallow or even pathetic. This album is a feast for the ears from start to the very end, and if you haven’t been familiar with this bright planet from the Steven-Wilson-Universe, there’s never been a better time to start exploring!

Below is an album teaser in MP3, and you can also watch a teaser video on the official homepage or on the media-site from We Put Out Records. And don’t forget MySpace for streams of Once, Christenings and 1’000 People!

Blackfield II Preview

I’m going to see the band live this Saturday, and you can imagine that I’m really really looking forward to it. Stay tuned for the concert review!

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