Monday, 5 August 2013

REDWOOD FIELDS - ALBUM REVIEW

Redwood Fields - Accidentals 
Redwood Fields - Accidentals

Ugh, I hate myself for this. I usually start listening to bands before I read about them to give myself the chance of an unprejudiced opinion. I swear, my first thoughts on Redwood Fields were "hmmm, pretty nice, a bit like a stripped back Arcade Fire". Hand on my heart I didn't know they were Canadian, I'm not 'that guy'. Anyway, I love Arcade Fire in a complex way (they soundtracked a very traumatic day in my life but that's a story for another time) so Redwood Fields are going to have to go some to compete but opening your debut album with "Welcome to this back ass town, with all this shit all around" is a pretty good start. Those are the opening lines to the delicious indie stomper that is 'Foundations', fused with British influences (see Bloc Party and Editors) and a stomp along chorus you can't deny that it's a great statement of intent. The more mellow 'Sappy' follows up with a lilting rhythm and a positively plodding keyboard line that has you swaying gently from side to side like you might at the end of the night in an indie disco when you realise that you're drunk and the music has been great but you'll be going home alone again tonight. Album title track, 'Accidentals', is an altogether more rousing affair (perfect for that defiant stagger home) which is tamed only by the soothing twin vocals of Cedric Noel and Heather Ogilvie.

The bittersweet opening of 'Jacqueline' and the gentle but relentless swell of the song belie a band that has taken their time to craft each individual song with each note carefully placed and each beat in exactly the right place. The beast of this album, there's always one, is 'The Runaway Always' which, for my money, could have been the album closer. No matter though, wherever you find it, you will instantly sense its heartfelt yearning and pleading as Noel repeatedly sings "would you think about, think about, think about me" to someone who has already left. 'Neurasthenia' has a beautifully 80s ballad feel to the intro with Kate Bush keys and guitars that have probably been in retirement since a love scene in Three Men and a Little Lady - it's gorgeous and gets more so as the song ever so slowly drifts out in to ether. There are times when Redwood Fields get all shoegazey and dreampop on our collective asses and the finest example of this is the subdued splendour of 'Distant & Obtuse' which could be the soundtrack to a painful break up between two teenage sweethearts following a comedic but ultimately tragic misunderstanding. The songs builds to a chaotic crescendo of Pixies-esque proportions before splashing down in a desolate lake of serenity. Final track, 'Ailments' (is there a more indie title out there? I think not), is a song full of self doubt and newborn regrets sung gently over bouncy drums and meandering keys that has a certain optimism about it in a Belle & Sebastian/Teenage Fanclub kind of way. Redwood Fields are the kind of band that will pass a lot of people by but those that take the time to stop and listen will fall deeply, fanatically and clinically in love with. It is their cross to bear.


Live Dates:

9th August - Dooryard Festival, Woodstock, NB (w/ Banded Stilts)
10th August - Peppers Pub, Saint John, NB (w/ Cellarghost)
16th August - The Company House, Halifax, NS (w/ Quiet Parade)

17th August - The Capital Bar, Fredericton, NB (w/ Quiet Parad + North Lakes)

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