I am fortunate to have been privy to the music of Field Report for years. Most of these songs are old friends, toughened and emboldened from performance to performance, sure of themselves and ready for scrutiny as well as a drink. Some I've watched through their awkward teen years, as they found their sea legs and grew into themselves; wallflowers taking root to take over the room with their bloom. I have even been present at the birth of a few, beaming like a proud uncle at their potential and promise. They all share something in common, something that gives them their magic, their heart. It is what drew me to this band, into their music, and has keep me an ever-faithful listener. It is their Sincerity. On the stage, this Sincerity is unabashedly displayed under the hot lights. There, the songs revel in their organic nature, refusing to be defined or predicted. They live and breathe as the band works as one organism to convey all the complexities and passions to give each note its proper respect and place in the moment. No performance is the same, no moment repeated or cheapened. The core that drives it all are the lyrics. They are the hidden treasures revealed as each word is delivered, each syllable wrung out more than you would think possible. These words are stretched over music of muscle and bone, giving them physicality which embodies the spirit of their triumphs and tragedies. You can't help but feel like you are being let into something personal, something far more than just a song. It is as if the protagonists in these songs are making their confessions directly to you, and the band the conduit. And as they exorcise their angels and demons, releasing their fates to the skies, you feel yourself pulled along. How can you capture this on record? Truthfully, as I listened to this recording for the first time I felt one thing: Field Report has made an album of restraint. But it is for all the right reasons. There isn't anything on this record to distract you from the barest essentials of the song. No bombastic production tricks or studio chicanery. All the elements that give these songs their strength are here. No note is out of place. No word is wasted. It's boiled and broken down to its purest form. This is an album you will want to LISTEN to, not just hear. The songs are postcards from areas desperate and beautiful. They are journal entries from beaten down heroes on the edge of vindication or destruction. They are love letters filled with proclamations of rebelliousness and renewal. And through it all there remains that same sincerity. Like their live performances, the music on record quietly coaxes you to into a place defined by the lyrics. As each word is doled out, you are taken closer to the context. And if you let yourself, you will be a part of it all. You will share in the vindication of escape. You will be struck by the warm boozy breath from shouts of bold declarations and acts of determination. You will ache with the longing brought on by solitude and unrelenting devotion. You will know the tragedies of unknown heroes and the beauty of commitments rekindled. And you will bear witness to the present confessions of weathered souls haunted by their future and past. Did I say that you will want to listen to this record? That is true but in the end, this is a record you will feel. I have heard these songs in different incarnations over time. But it is on this record I feel as though I am hearing them for the first time, reborn, full of that potential and promise. And each one begs for another. Much like that first taste of rosemary-infused everclear. So do yourself a favor, Kind Listener, and buy this album.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend