V is for me personally one of the most anticipated releases for this year in the “prog world”. This is already the fifth album of prog-God Steven Wilson and his companion Aviv Geffen. Together they released as Blackfield an album which has 13 tracks on it. With the other 4 excellent releases in the back of my head I have great expectations. And with the release delay of 3 months even more! As a longtime fan of nearly all Mr. Wilson's works I could tell you a lot of things that don't matter to this CD, so I'll give it my personal view.
A Drop In The Ocean is a classical interlude of the 13 short tracks on this album. I always thought Blackfield is the more commercial and even 'hit machine' of the Wilson music factory.
Family Man could be a lost Porcupine Tree single, it's powerful but not really impressive.
How Was Your Ride sounds relaxed with Aviv's leads. Sometimes it's difficult to hear who's singing, but the accent gives it away. When they do a chorus together it sounds absolutely beautiful. They match perfectly. The brilliance of these two voices are of a quality which the producers of ABBA could listen to with sentiment.
We'll Never Be Apart should be sent to the Eurovision Song Contest. Catchy acoustic guitar riff with orchestral guidance and a constant repeating of the song title. Ending in a 'sort of' heavy climax.
Sorrys is a quiet easy listening song with a melancholic tone, excellent with sad lyrics.
Flowing smoothly into Life Is An Ocean. I've got a soft spot for vocoding, and again it's done absolutely beautifully in this song. It merges into the music and makes it even more dreamy.Lately sounds like a mainstream pop song, a nice guitar riff with couplets and choruses. But clearly with the stamp of Mr. Wilson on it. Nice breaking with a female (Alex Moshe) voice in a bridge to the short guitar solo.
October gives you the feeling it could have been written for a musical. Very melancholic and with sad lyrics.
If you can speak of a typical Blackfield song, The Jackal is it. With the other Blackfield albums in mind, it has that typical feel to it. The perfect choruses by Aviv and Steven. And of course, the breaks in it which give it that typical Blackfield sound.
Salt Water, an instrumental break that would not miss on a Shadows album. Undercover Heart is also an easy listening song with a load of orchestral music in it. The collaboration with The London Session Orchestra proves to be an excellent choice by the composers.
Lonely Soul is an example that this dynamic duo listened to Massive Attack. And that's a compliment! Personally it think it lacks the 'soul' of trip hop. It sounds too simple like Go To Hell on the third Blackfield album.
From 44 To 48 is it about regrets? I think one of the deepest tracks on this album. And for sure, it sounds like a great pop song with all the clichés drenched in the well-known melancholic Wilson sound.
All in all a good record, although I think it lacks the power/ impact of (especially) the first 2 albums. I also heard the Blu-ray version, which is housed in a nice digibook. With the 2 disc in it, it really looks great. I've listened to the 5.1 mix in true HD sound. And Mr. Wilson made parts of this mix together with Alan Parsons (on tracks 3, 4 and 9) and Bruce Soord! Not the smallest guys in Progland. It's smooth, well produced. No... brilliantly produced! It sounds absolutely great. The 5.1 mix sounds great too, Bruce and Steven made it in perfect balance. Maybe a bit too perfect, sometimes I miss some sharp edges.
***** Erik van Os (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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