The center of the Blackfield listening experience has always been the songwriting interplay between the band’s two central figures: Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree and Israeli singer/songwriter Aviv Geffen. On their 2004 self-titled, the pair set a contemplative tone, more progressive than pop, and with 2007’s follow-up, they began to veer more in the latter direction. Four years later now, they return with Welcome To My DNA and a batch of songs that, perhaps even more than their predecessors, are a mixture of both worlds.
Wilson and Geffen have worked well together from the start, and that smoothness continues here on opener “Glass House,” the minor-keyed “Blood,” and the soft “Rising Of The Tide.” The balance shifts throughout the album—sometimes you get more of Geffen and sometimes more of Wilson—but the songwriting remains stellar throughout, the arrangements lush without being overbearing, and the overall atmosphere of Welcome To My DNA, while not afraid to occasionally dip into sappy pop sentimentality, is gorgeous.
That said, there are also parts of this album where it feels like the duo are just having fun working with each other. “Go To Hell,” in which the title and “Fuck you all/ Fuck you” serve as the bulk of the lyrics, gets off on its simplistic vulgarity, trying hard not to take itself too seriously and succeeding, and issues of fatherhood are explored with varying degrees of severity on “On The Plane,” “Zigota” and “DNA.” Balance has always been an element in their approach, and seven years on from the first album, that holds as true here as ever. Those who’ve followed the project will be thrilled with another installment, and newcomers will find these 10 tracks readily accessible and memorable alike.