in places ‘Everything Last Winter’ is the gloriously moving and evocative folk-rock touchstone that we’ve been expecting...
Jason Gregory
10:27 1st April 2007

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got an ego the size of The Twang or you claim to not care what people will think about your album because it’s only ‘the fans’ opinion that really matters (Kaiser Chiefs) - every band feels pressure at the end of the day. Pressure to win a few more plaudits, pressure to hold on to the plaudits you’ve already got and pressure to, dare we say it, simply earn a living. It’s a feeling that Fields – another band from 2006 trying to prove that they’re worth the hype in 2007 - should be quite familiar with by now.

Since their formation as a garden shed pipe-dream, Fields have certainly come a long way to arrive at the release of their debut LP, ‘Everything Last Winter.’ A number of high profile support tours with amongst others, Bloc Party, as well as the release of a flurry of impressive and acclaimed singles which have preceded the LP’s release, means that there’s a distinct pressure to perform here. And perform they do, well, almost anyway.

Whilst an Anglo-Icelandic band on paper might sound like a quaint prospect, as ‘Song For The Fields’ gets the album underway – a song which initially sounds distant but eventually explodes gloriously - it’s clear Fields aren’t exactly the ‘quaint’ band we all thought. There’s distinct venom that runs through their music, which at times is exposed through dark, twisted electronica (‘Schoolbooks’) and others through a tougher, heavier rock edge (‘The Death’).

With acclaimed producer Michael Beinhorn (Soundgarden and Marilyn Manson) in the studio, it’s perhaps not surprising that Fields have taken this direction. Couple the rock mentor to the claustrophobic Dublin basement that the record was created in during the summer of 2006 and it’s easy to understand why some songs sound like they’re trying to break free. Take the hypnotic, ‘Charming The Flames’ for example. A painful, anthemic riff laden number, where Nick Peill sounds like a front man with an undeniable presence and Fields sound every bit like a band who are just not content with being confined to the Barfly’s for much longer.

This ambition, however, is also cruelly detrimental to the flow of the LP. For at times Fields just sound like a small band trying to be a big one, as opposed to a big band just being themselves. With the average song length pushing five minutes, some songs just go on for too long in a bid to bowl us over. The initial haunting impact of ‘Feathers’ – where Thorunn Antonia and Peill share the vocals charmingly - is lost in the breathtaking instrumental final minutes where Fields seem to want to be Coldplay as opposed to, well, just Fields.

While in places ‘Everything Last Winter’ is the gloriously moving and evocative folk-rock touchstone that we’ve been expecting the Anglo-Icelandic group to make (see ‘If You Fail We All Fail’ for confirmation), ironically, it’s also a record that at times seems to have succumbed to the pressure of expectancy as well, damaging the purist thing of all – the music.

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