Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n05)
Rick On The Records - by Rick Zeigler
posted: Mar. 09, 2007
FIELDS-7 From the Village
The Fields, a 5-piece Anglo-Icelandic outfit, are barely a year old. They performed their first live gig in early 2006. Their debut 7-song EP, however, sounds completely confident and mature. While certainly a rock album, 7 From The Village also incorporates a rural, English flavor in its approach. Filled with multiple vocal harmonies (4 of the 5 members sing) and rustic as well as electric instrumentation, each of the group's songs tend to evolve from pastoral beauty into rocked-out guitar pop. Bittersweet lyrics are wrapped around English folk melodies and dollops of 60's psychedelia along with 90's Britpop. Urgent, but not antagonistic, hazy but cut with crystal-clear jangle-pop guitar lines, laid-back but with a drummer who propels the band with multi-rhythmic precision, the Fields field a number of contradictions. These musical tensions yield immediate dividends with the opener, "Song From The Fields". Beginning with rapidly strummed acoustics guitars and gorgeous vocals, the band builds into a psychedelic rave-up with a great beat and multiple layers of guitars. The result is both unique and compelling, beautifully marrying their "medieval" folk aesthetic with a well-developed rock sensibility. The following tunes generally follow this pattern of starting with soft, delicate, textures that evolve into guitar-driven psychedelic epics, all enhanced by their unerring ear for superb vocal melodies. A full-length is to follow shortly. If it is as consistent as this, the Fields hold promise for being a 'career band" of significant note.
THE ROUNDERS-Wish I Had You
"We like to make new music sound old and old music sound new." This quote comes from the Rounders' press material, and it aptly describes their achievement on their debut album, Wish I Had You. Drawing deep from the well of rural Delta and Mississippi blues, this Oklahoma City 5-piece most often sounds like a modern, more polished variant of artists residing on the Fat Possum label (R.L. Burnside, T-Model Ford, etc.), not to mention our own Reverend Peyton. They also add solid helpings of more urban, electric-guitar oriented blues, and even a healthy dose of pop. Singer Brian Whitten has a beautiful baritone voice, somewhat reminiscent of Buddy Guy, or Kim Wilson from the Fabulous Thunderbirds, though with more power. Opener "God Knows I'm Trying" showcases Whitten's vocal chops, but is put over the top by twin electric guitars full of blues and pop hooks. The title song is a slow, rural blues shuffle, while the urban side of their blues is presented on "My Getaway," featuring fantastic slide work, and "When It's Bad," which also includes a beautiful chorus recalling the heyday of Cream. In addition, the band shows that they can do straight melodic pop with the best of them on "Oh, My Dear Mind," a top-40 hit in a better world. It's when they integrate all these elements, however, that the band becomes a truly unique creation, as on the aforementioned "When It's Bad" as well as on "Through No Fault Of My Own, which starts as country blues, morphs into more urban territory with nice single-note electric guitar leads, and culminates in a completely original and catchy syncopated chorus. Combining roots and indie rock with country and urban blues would seem to be a tall order. The Rounders pull it off with complete aplomb and a basketful of great songs. If you like the blues, this band deserves your attention.
Rick Zeigler, along with his wife, Jeanne, owns Indy CD and Vinyl at 806 Broad Ripple Avenue. Back in his musician days, his band opened for the likes of U2, XTC, Gang Of Four, The Pretenders, Los Lobos, and, um, Flock Of Seagulls, among others. You can read all of Rick's reviews at www.indycdandvinyl.com. Email your music questions and comments to rick@BroadRippleGazette.com