On their self-titled first record, Field Report exhibits a real, natural, raw sound that makes it seems like they’re playing the album just for you, live in your friend’s garage or around a fire pit. Songs like “Chico the American” and “Captain Video” are slow and somber on the surface, but hold a deeper, rougher sound that prevent the album from becoming too soft or monotonous.
The first track, “Fergus Falls,” progresses gracefully from an instrumental, folky tune to a full, complex number that surrounds and engulfs the listener. Opening on just the notes of a twangy acoustic guitar, the piece fluidly adds a band of harmonious voices and various other instruments, guitars and a violin especially, that turn just a song into a memorable, powerful moment.
They have a minimalist style that should in no way be mistaken for simple. The lack of overly elaborate and showy effects and production give the listener a chance to slow down, a chance to focus on the raspy soulfulness of the vocals and the distinctiveness of the guitar plucking and the enchantingly crafted lyrics (“They got you wrapped up in guilt like an aftermarket cancer quilt” from “Circle Drive” comes to mind).
I have so many good things to say about this album and this band. Though it’s only their first record, Field Report’s self-titled debut shows their musicality and talents off in the best way possible, playing directly to and highlighting their strengths. They shine in their slow songs, bringing soul and intensity to the tracks, which is great because the entire album seems to be made up of slow songs. The amount of musical prowess Field Report’s slower tracks displayed made me yearn to hear them try their hand at an upbeat melody, dance track or fast-paced ditty. In the meantime, I have no problem putting their current album on repeat.