Saturday, March 17, 2018

Music Review:
Field Sleeper
"Better Grid"
(Scioto Records)

The music of Field Sleeper can be described easily as a guitar plus vocals.    In that sense in seems minimal, almost simple in a way, but the guitar parts and vocal structures on this album are anything but simple.   I even find it odd how you I would expect this to be minimal since it seems to be comprised of only two elements and yet I wouldn't even call it minimal.   There are bands out there in the post rock with bass and drums that I'd consider to be more minimal than Field Sleeper.

That isn't to say that the music isn't on the quieter side sometimes though.   One of the only bands I really can compare this with is Penfold, mainly because my fondest memory of the band Penfold is having a conversation with a musician in another band about them.   We talked about how you don't have to turn your amps up to 11 and such to be "loud".  Penfold had that sense of being powerful yet quiet and I can feel that same way about Field Sleeper. 

At the same time, I have to do what I do in these situations and think about what this might sound like as a full band.   This brings me to thinking of this album by Field Sleeper as being a stripped down version of Death Cab For Cutie, Snow Patrol, Dismemberment Plan and even The Reflector.    While that might seem like a wide variety of well known to unknown bands, it is good company to be in and I'm sure you can pull out your own influences based upon what you've heard in your life and are most familiar with in the rock genre.

To think about this as being guitar + vocals makes you realize in some aspect how important the vocals are as they make up half of the songs.   There is a singing style I really enjoy and along with that come lyrics which you should also be listening to and quoting.   Lines like "I'm always feeling unprepared / Why would anyone want that?" and "I promise to try reading more and wander a little less" are ones I've pulled out on different listens to quote and I find that the more I listen to this album the more lyrics I do isolate.

"Family Forest", which is the final track, is instrumental.   What impresses me most about this album is not the guitar work itself, the vocals or the lyrics but rather the combination of all three.  You could be a superb guitar player, write good lyrics that rhyme and find ways to sing that keep a harmony and rhythm but putting all of those qualities together to form songs such as Field Sleeper does it not by any means easy.   The more you listen to "Better Grid", the more you could find yourself singing along with it but also you will likely find yourself being more impressed with it with each listen as well.

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