Field Report Album Review

Field Report is the creation of Chris Porterfield who cut his musical teeth with Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and the members of Megafaun in the now-legendary band DeYarmond Edison. Now Field Report are set to release their self-titled debut album on May 27 through Partisan Records.

The self-titled album features the previous releases I Am Not Waiting Anymore and Evergreen. A new video for Evergreen was posted online yesterday with a free download of the track also available from Soundcloud. The video for Evergreen was produced by The Blind Club.

Field Report

Chris Porterfield of Field Report

Field Report’s sound is similar in style to Bon Iver yet it definitely has more traditional folk influences which can be heard throughout the record compared to Bon Iver’s indie folk approach. Field Report’s self-titled album has a good balance – a few of the tracks like Chico The American and The Year Of The Get You Alone feel more modern and experimental compared to the other ballad type songs such as I Am Not Waiting Anymore and Circle Drive.

Track one Fergus Falls is very heavily folk inspired to begin with, with a lonesome guitar being picked. It has a distinct raw feel to it. Slowly and intriguingly it builds to include a light drum beat in the background. The vocals stay prominent with the guitar at the forefront but slowly strings are introduced blended very cleverly with the rest of the instruments. The lyrics are fantastic, “This is the one in which I miraculously pulled out of a free fall dive over Fergus Falls…” It’s very simple music combined with simple, relaxed vocals and wonderfully thought of lyrics. The harmonies towards the end build the song to its maximum leaving you ready to hear the rest of the album.

The second track , The Year of the Get You Alone has dark, husky vocals mixed with a jazz inspired drum beat. The mix of the jazz drums and the blend of acoustic and electric guitar all create the perfect backing track to beautiful lyrics, “In the year of the get you alone I got you alone/And I showed you that I’d been drinking in a handful of words…Oh my love what have we become/Crippled by joy/And pursuit thereof/In the year of the get you alone I got you on a boat/I did all my drinking at home before we got to shore/Don’t look down now/But this waters got a sinister motive/It’s carving out my confidence/Flooding my crumbling home…” It has a very sad message about a broken relationship but lyrically, this is the strongest song on the album which tells the best narrative. This song will allow you to zone out as soon as you hear the first snare drum being hit with the brushes.

Taking Alcatraz is your typical acoustic guitar picking song which can be compared to Jose Gonzalez’s style. The harmonies are blended really well together which is something that makes this track easy to listen to. Yet again, it contains brilliantly crafted lyrics and a fantastic melody in the chorus, “If I die here/At least I made a choice/If I’m fine here/ Just please tell the boys/That the line in the sand don’t matter/You don’t care…” It’s kept very simple giving it a very empty feeling with just the guitar, vocals, lightly played strings and piano in the background being heard. None of the instruments steal the limelight from the others, there’s nothing too dominant. It’s empty but in a good way. It keeps it stripped back and raw.

Incommunicado has a great drum beat and descending guitar riffs. It’s the ultimate relaxation song on the album. Again, there are spot-on harmonies. The whole song builds slowly from acoustic guitar picking and peaceful lyrics “I’ve been incommunicado…” to the slight note of a bass guitar being heard in the background to the added top hat and bass drum. The electric guitar then steps in with its sequential chords all aiding to create a wonderfully relaxed, jazz inspired acoustic number.

Chico The American has a heavily influenced Lounge drum beat, it could easily be something you may hear in Bonobo’s music for example. The whole style of the music is more Lounge than the previous tracks which are heavily influenced by jazz and folk. If you remove the vocals on this song, the music is intrinsically Lounge yet the vocals remain stereotypically folk. It’s by far the best track on album. There are lots of different instruments that you can tune in and out of – at one point the vocals are dominant, the next the electric guitar, then the softly played drums. It’s really good production and mixing.

Field Report have released a breathtakingly brilliant debut album that tells narratives, expresses emotions and requires a little time to explore over a period of time to peel back the many laters and get to its centre. Field Report produce gorgeously crafted folk with a delicately experimental edge.

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