Blackfield II (Helicon) While 2007 has only just begun, one of the most talked about albums of the year is Blackfield's second self-titled release. Musicians Aviv Gefen (Israel) and Steven Wilson (UK), the members of the group, again offer atmospheric, melancholy-tinged pop-rock songs on this sophomore effort. The duo recorded the English-language songs, which they composed together and separately, in Tel Aviv and London. Within weeks of its release, the album has garnered top reviews across the board in both foreign and domestic media. The 10 songs range from heavier-edged tracks like "Once" and "Where is My Love?" to more delicate slow-paced songs such as "The Killer" and "1,000 People." Their lyrics are thoughtful and often witty. Many of the songs deal with love or failed relationships, and there's a good measure of despair, too. The standout song is "My Gift of Silence," which includes both reflective lyrics and a depressing yet beautiful tune. This song exemplifies Gefen and Wilson's tendency to use the music to reflect their lyrical meanings. Wilson sings, "The smile on my lips is a sign that I don't hear you leaving me and I don't hear my own soul scream." Just as his words are contradictory, so too is the musical backdrop of consoling electric guitar notes and depressing piano chords. As to whether the album is more Gefen or more Wilson, the word on the street is mixed. The song "Christenings" has Wilson written all over it, sounding most like his alter ego, Porcupine Tree. Wilson also provides most of the leading vocals on the album. On the other hand, there are the very Gefen songs, which have been translated into English and re-jigged for this album. Gefen also takes a more active role in vocal performances on this CD, thus serving up memorable harmonies with his music partner. Musicians Daniel Salomon (piano), Seffy Efrati (bass) and Tomer Z (drums) add texture to the wonderful harmonies and orchestral arrangements. Like Simon & Garfunkel or McCartney & Lennon, it seems Gefen & Wilson - who are currently touring the US in support of the album - are on the path to becoming a legendary musical pair. Bottom line: Blackfield II is a collection of melodic pop/rock songs that deserves all the praise it has harvested thus far. Infected Mushroom Becoming Insane (BNE) This four-track CD includes electronica group Infected Mushroom's popular "Becoming Insane" single in two versions, radio mix and album mix. The track blends flamenco beats, guitar driven riffs and haunting vocals in both its three minute and seven minute versions. The shorter version entices the listener at home to get up for a quick groove. The longer version, which includes more pumping beats, would be best enjoyed at an open-air festival or party with lots of other people. This EP is all about the music, with the basic lyrics serving a secondary purpose. Behind Infected Mushroom are Erez Aizen and Amit Duvdevani, two Israelis who have been the leading force within the global psy-trance scene for nearly a decade. Their infectious melodies are also present on two new remixes included on this EP, "Deeply Disturbed" and "Merlin". The disc is said to be a preview to an upcoming full-length sixth studio album. Electronica fans have something to look forward to.