With lovely, gauzy album art that'd be perfect for a crossover of Stranger Things and Chromatics, you'd be forgiven for entirely misunderstanding the Field Report mission statement. An indie rock band who namecheck Bon Iver about six hundred times in their press release, their gorgeous music twangs and lilts, impressing enough for Jeff Tweedy opening slots. Lovely.
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It’s Big Music Wednesday! Indie rock heartthrobs through and through, it would be hard to describe Field Report as anything other than ‘earnest’, the kind of band whose screeching saccharine exists to lend you the feelings, and lend you them loudly. Rushing strings and piano twinkles are actually the quietest of things on this caterwauling record of sleek guitars, massive vocal harmonies and overpowering synthlines. The front cover makes it look like Stranger Things with a new soundtrack from Chromatics. Actually, it sounds like every touchstone of the old, big indie rock vanguard -- and in doing so, it sounds like nothing in particular at all.
It’s not a bad thing: I think that post ‘Viva La Vida’, Coldplay could have easily gone in this direction and made much better music. This mix of colour-drenched production, burgeoning Americana and massive, simple choruses sounds off in a world where yearning exists for an anthem. “If I Knew” mixes up twinkling melodies and a whole array of textures -- aquatic, twilit and out on the open road -- into one of the busiest expressions of emotion I’ve ever heard.
God bless their country socks: songs like “Never Look Back” are simple, twanging good times shot through a panorama, sounding lovely and then sounding… loud. It sounds kinda like someone’s taken a humble band and turned them into U2: there’s so much space, and sometimes so much filling it, but the best moments are those where you can hear the barebones song beneath. Hiding in the middle of an empty landscape under the bright light blare of synths is “Healing Machine”, existing off an oddly ticking bassline and a forlorn song that would rightfully deserve the sad-ending spot on an episode of Scrubs. It’s a pretty perfect song, and like the rest of ‘Summertime Songs’, it’s pumped up, put through the gears -- as if you didn't already know it was good.
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- Summertime Songs by Field Report
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