Fields - 4 From The Village

Mike Mantin 10/07/2006

Rating: 4/5

For in a band still in its relative infancy, Fields have shown a remarkable evolution. Only their second release, '4 From The Village' sees them morphing instantly from a promising band with a set of nice demos to one of the country's most exciting new bands, amassing critical acclaim yet refusing to follow the drainpipes-'n'-Libertines-or-Joy Division riffs formula of the current scene. Their sound is completely their own - always relaxed and harmony-laden yet epic and ambitious.

Opener and lead track 'Brittlesticks' is probably the most effective, its summery acoustic guitar riff making way for a multi-layered, loud and uplifting climax to make for a refreshingly uplifting listen. Glockenspiel, harmonies and a buzzing keyboard are all buried under the noise, but as a song it's tight and totally focused and is the best example of how to do huge, epic and bittersweet indie since The Arcade Fire. Darker second track 'Heretic' follows a similar pattern, building on a simple riff into a post-rock crescendo. It is, of course, wonderful to listen to but sounds slightly too close to their debut single 'Song For The Fields' to comfort, never quite reaching its heights.

Isabel' brings it back up to its joyous standard, an intimate, mournful, classic lovesong which dampens the mood but loses none of the power, but it's the EP's final track, 'Roll Down The Hill', which finally confirms that Fields will not just stick with the formula they exhibit so beautifully on the other three tracks. Slow and echoey, its subtle stacatto drums and atmospheric textures leaving us hotly anticipating more with their debut album early next year, by which time they will surely have converted the mainstream to their unique and utterly beautiful ways.