Birmingham, UK band Fields display a curiously diverse spread of influences on their full-length debut, Everything Last Winter. At first they seem to have a baroque ’60s folk bent a la The Incredible String Band and Pentangle, but soon enough a soaring, mighty rock sound emerges, finding the band closer in spirit to My Bloody Valentine and Radiohead. And yet there’s a hypnotic ethereality to it all, harkening the ambient pop sounds of Broadcast or 4AD acts like The Cocteau Twins. It’s difficult to pin down one defining quality with this band, which is precisely what makes Everything Last Winter such an exciting and welcome revelation.
At their core, Fields are a rock band, one with verses and choruses, hooks and riffs. I could even imagine hearing many of the songs from Everything Last Winter on the radio, I just haven’t yet. It’s in the way these songs are executed with intricacy and innovation that makes them sound so fresh and fun. Opening track “Song For the Fields,” a holdover from their earlier EP 7 From the Village, progresses precisely in the manner I described earlier, opening mystically and mysteriously before erupting into a burly, distorted rocker. “Charming the Flames” is a bit closer to the Britpop of late, sans disco influence, shimmering and glorious, led beautifully by the male/female vocal harmonies between Nick Peill and Thorunn Antonia.
With a warm mellotron intro, “You Don’t Need This Song (To Fix Your Broken Heart)” is a beautiful and folk-tinged standout, all shuffling drums and clanging synth sounds. “Feathers” sounds much less like the prior three tracks, less prone to cloaked druid symphonies and opting for a straightforward guitar rock progression, albeit one that becomes a bit more `emo’ sounding during the chorus, for lack of a less dated sounding descriptor. A ’70s influence, to be more specific Fleetwood Mac, rears its head on the pretty, mellow ballad “School Books,” while furious, Muse-like riffing is the propulsive force that drives monster rocker “The Death.”
Over the course of ten tracks, Fields’ modus operandi becomes a bit less confusing, as patterns begin to emerge, a pervasive psych-folk influence driving the melodies while huge guitars are added for the sake of making them rock out more. And really, who hasn’t thought to themselves `Fairport Convention could use more power chord riffs’? Okay, probably nobody, but expected or not, Fields are on to something really cool here.
Radiohead – The Bends
Muse – Origin of Symmetry
My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.