Once upon a time a lady squeezed out Steven Wilson. Steven Wilson started a band. The music was good so he made another band. And then another. And another. Another and another. MORE.
If you’d like to just imagine for me Steven Wilson as a great bloated cat lying on her back pooping out kittens, Blackfield is the runt, the thing that stumbles around shaking and pissing on the floor with all of its fur falling out. By now I hope you’ve guessed that this is a rather opinionated review. Hi.
Steven has been hailed as a God, a genius, a King, a hero, blah blah blah by fans of progressive rock. He certainly has talent, and a love for what he does. His solo debut ‘Insurgentes‘ is a record that confirms that. It’s bursting full of lyrical reverie, the title track full to brim of bright and eerie sounds that trickle through the ears. Go check out Puncture Wound, Insurgentes, and especially No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun (which is outstanding).
So I’m awfully confused about the new thingy from Blackfield, Steven Wilson’s project with his Israeli fanboy Aviv Geffen. Dubbed ‘Welcome to My DNA‘, this is the third studio album released by the duo (and the other three members of the current line-up who ding a triangle occasionally, or do a little insincere hoot in the background on a couple of tracks). And these are real lyrics as conceived by Geffen:
“Fuck you all, fuck you, fuck you all, fuck you. I don’t care. I don’t care. Fuck you all fuck you, fuck you all fuck you. I don’t care anymore.”
The crux of this supposedly extremely moving and meaningful insight into Aviv Geffen’s relationship with his parents is completed with “go to hell, go to hell! Go to hell, go to hell, go to hell! Fuck you all, fuck you all, fuck you all!”
Steven Wilson has put his name to this.
Needless to say on first listen I felt gravely concerned for the man. What had happened? Had he suffered some kind of awful accident? I pictured the prog darling flopping down a flight of concrete stairs, in a crashed car; suffering a stroke on the toilet whilst eating a Greggs Cornish pasty or suffocating under the weight of a certain great big fat groupie during intercourse, and all those brain cells popping and fading away. It was unbelievable.
The album is a lump. It doesn’t work. Geffen and Wilson have tried to put together a cohesive piece of music, they really have, but it’s a slushy sandcastle. Obnoxious strings, lyrics that sound like extracts from a thirteen year old boy’s Facebook account, mediocre drums, dopey and arbitrary chord progressions. It’s an absolute disaster. In places, it sounds like something you’d hear piddling through a tinny Argos radio in an office cafeteria. Glass House sounds like a fucking Take That song. I can imagine Piers Morgan listening to Rising of the Tide, patting his hand on the solid oak kitchen table, vacuous stare peering into the empty white space this record provides. In Waving, Steven Wilson throws his head back and burps out a Michael Jackson-esque ‘oh!’. It’s comic.
On further distraught investigation, I discovered that only one track on the album had actually been written by Wilson. Yet even then, the entire album is heartbreakingly weak. It’s the musical equivalent of a grandmother sneezing silently into a crumpled balsam tissue. And then quietly excusing herself. Whilst wearing an adult nappy.
I understand the need for new direction in each individual musical project, especially if you’re as fucking everywhere as Steven Wilson, but this doesn’t excuse the lack of enthusiasm in this record, or the lack of quality, or the lack of creativity. Bad. Bad bad. I hope this lapse in quality isn’t for long. I guess we’ll find out with yet another project Steven’s putting the finishing touches to with Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt (set for early 2012). WELP.
Snot / 10