The main problem that Fields have got is that they have one song which towers over the rest ofwhat they do. A song as pure as a siren. As gargantuan as an elephant. As swirling as a hurricane on a gyroscope.
The problem everyone else has is that there are nine other songs on Everything Last Winter, none of which will later make you wish you could remember that all of this was Fields. At least, not as much.
Still, mustn’t grumble. Five minutes of glory is more than some bands manage in an album. Hell, it’s more than Embrace have managed in a career. And it isn’t as if the rest of the album is that bad, it’s just my Grandmother chatting on the phone: relatively speaking.
So setting aside their moment of death defining brilliance, there really is a lot to like about Fields. They manage to create a hefty mass of synth’n'guitar led sound, while remaining friendly and accessible; and the guy and (Icelandic siren) girl vocals make it feel folksy, yet vaguely unnerving. Like Joan Baez with a mace.
Which when it works, as on Feathers and Song For The Fields, it kicks like a mule, but then applies a cooling poultice to the affected area. And when it doesn’t, the dirgey Schoolbooks; the dull Parasite, it just feels like it’s dragging on for all eternity.
But then, on that track, it falls into place. If You Fail We All Fail is truly magnificent. Lengthy, but carrying itself with a prizefighters poise. Epic, yet stupendously catchy. It begins like Babylon pumped full of growth hormone, explodes into a dense cloud of post-rock fog and then cuts through the excess with verses delivered with such plaintive beauty that you want to scoop them up and keep them locked away in the highest tower for their own safety. It’s phenomenal, adjectives wasting stuff.
But they do only reach that level once, and once only. A prime example then of being hoist by your own petard. It’s cruel, for sure, but if you demonstrate that you can be that good, it will feel like your change is short if you don’t then achieve the same heights more often.