Fields - Everything Last Winter
I know it sounds improbable, but I spent one of the happiest days of my life standing in a farmers field in Slough. Hard to believe I know, but even harder to get your head round is the fact that there was once a Slough Music Festival. As far as I know, this event only took place twice, the original festival headlined by Ride with support from such similar shoe-gazers Slowdive and Curve. We all had a lovely time and a plane flew over when Ride played Vapour Trail. Heck, even Thousand Yard Stare were good on that fateful Saturday. It was a time when the music press used statements like “sonic cathedrals of sound" and "glacial chunks of wintry guitars” when they reviewed albums. All in all, it made me a very happy chap.
Fields would have felt right at home in those days. Comparisons have been made to a more poppy and folk orientated My Bloody Valentine, and I can understand that to a degree. However, their debut album Everything Last Winter is more than a sequence of tuneful noise and battered guitars. It is an album of songs and melodies, full of charm and emotions - at times happy, at times mournful, but always interesting and full of glorious sounds.
There is no better example of this than the song If You Fail, We All Fail. Better production aside, it could quite happily have been lifted from back in 1991, a bright, heavy on the reverb guitar line set against multiple acoustics and a pounding drum track. The song grows with a considerable strength reaching a peak that is just bliss, wave upon wave of those glacial guitars I was talking about earlier thrashing into its conclusion. Get me in the right mood and I would happily want all songs to end this way, sounds crashing like waves into the soft elegance of the closing track Parasite, a gentle opposite to its predecessor.
Elsewhere, current single Charming the Flames presents more of the dramatic stuff, a tense opening allowing the song to gently unwind into the passion of the chorus. Song for the Fields is also a joy, repetitive in all the right places, closing on a mantra of words and guitars. The songs are ambitious but never overblown, managing to stand on the right side of portentous. Occasionally they do slip up - Schoolbooks is a little on the dull side, and The Death maybe a little over the top, but in the main there is much to enjoy here. It is engaging without presenting a challenge, inspiring without drifting towards pretentious.
Sadly, when the time came for the second Slough Festival, trends had moved on and Jesus Jones headlined. Even I stayed away. The glut of ponderous guitar bands had been washed away on a wave of EMF and Carter. Big shorts were in, floppy fringes were out. I can’t though see a band like Fields being usurped by a sequencer and crap haircuts. Their debut will in time show the origins of a band that can only get better and more inventive. Who knows, they may even be capable of a Loveless. This release is well-crafted, full of the great stuff that makes the heart swell with the joy of good music.
You can listen to a preview of the album at this Fields microsite.
Last updated: 19/04/2018 02:54:22