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Blackfield II ()

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The sophomore release for this melodic duo (actually a five-piece band, but the leads are Steven Wilson and Aviv Geffen) based to some degree on the progressive bent of Porcupine Tree covers much of the same ground as their debut. The sound is still firmly in the realm of progressive rock, with hints of Radiohead and Oasis. Unlike Blackfield's previous album which was recorded off and on over a two-year span, this one was recorded in one short stretch, and shows somewhat more consistency in tone as a result. The album-opening "Once" has a particularly Radiohead-like vibe and a bit of heaviness, but the development of the album works into other veins as well, with large string movements, light piano accompaniment, and a generally melodic guitar approach. Somewhat '80s-influenced sounds come and go slightly, a touch of Pink Floyd comes through now and then (particularly on "Christenings"), and a general melancholy hangs over the album as a whole. Aviv Geffen has taken a larger role in lead vocals here with good effect (particularly in a handful of tracks he had composed, eventually translated from Hebrew). The overall effect is a fine one -- Blackfield II has more of what fans of the duo will enjoy and makes a fair introduction for newcomers, although debut album would serve them better as a first listen. The short nature of Blackfield II (coming in around 42 minutes) will almost certainly have some of the fans wishing for more. ~ Adam Greenberg, Rovi Hide synopsis

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