Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Field Harmonics - Corners: Album Review

http://40.media.tumblr.com/fc8046286f60d3e6db09eeab1fca416f/tumblr_ny4oul0w171s2zoz4o1_500.jpgIf you are familiar with Field Harmonics live show then you will probably have a good idea of what to expect. If not then opening track Life is a perfect introduction to the bands sound. Field Harmonics mix samples of their own vocals, and looped beats to create a wall of sound. It sounds almost as if Phil Spector had produced the Human League. They make catchy yet huge sounding pop songs.  Opening track 'Life' is a dramatic opener, mixing ethereal noise, moody bass, clicky beats and glitchy vocals to make a perfect introduction to the bands sound. 'Girls' is a bit more upbeat. Yet Bryony Williams' lyrics seem both vague yet very personal. Lyrics such as "We never felt so far away, we live like ghosts in our lives" hints at a poignancy and a human heart beneath all the robotic beats and cold synths. 'Girls' is simply a brilliant pop song, and it's easily the best track on here.
'Instance' is a bit slower, more of a ballad, and the lyrics 'Convince me to Follow', and 'Wrapping these circles around my chest', carry on in the theme of being heartfelt but a little bit odd when taken out of context. Some tracks such as Corners and Acre sound good but feel more like interludes than full songs. I feel that an album of only 9 songs could use a few more big tunes, rather than little bits of filler. However this is forgiveable in a bands d├ębut album.
What I do like about Field Harmonics is that while I can make many valid comparisons to current acts like Chvrches, Grimes and Crystal Castles, as well as older acts such as The Human League or Eurthymics, this album feels like the work of a great band in it's own right. There are no obvious influences or homages to other acts, and it is less the music they make but how they make it that makes them unique. The way they sample themselves to create a bigger sound than the two of them could make themselves. 'Corners' harks back to 80's synthpop, yet sounds very fresh and very 2016. While the instrumentals could make an album of ambient electronica on their own, Bryony Williams, vocals and lyrics are a big part of what makes this a great pop album.
'Fear' is the longest song on the album and one of the best. By giving themselves 8 minutes to play with, they've made a song that shows off the best of both their songwriting ability and their musicianship. The lyrics seem to touch on anxiety and its definitely the most anthemic track on here.
'Corners' does seem like the work of a band still finding their feet, but it's shows loads of promise. 8/10

*review at  http://burminum.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/field-harmonics-wrecks-live-at.html

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