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Now Hear This: Surface Tension - Good Field


Rating: ****

Good Field is a band out of one of my favorite cities in the world, Austin, Texas. The record I'm reviewing today is their third album and it's called "Surface Tension".

Now by reading some info about the band, they consider their first two releases "shoddy home recordings" and this should serve as their first actual recording done proper. Okay. I can jive with that. Add in that they got Jim Eno (Spoon) at the soundboard and James Petralli (White Denim) on hand to add to the production staff and I my ears perk up a bit. This is really gonna be a proper production!

So here we are. About to listen to an album almost completely written in cabin retreats in West Texas. The first proper Good Field studio recording.

Are you ready for it? I sure the eff am.

Let's listen and review "Surface Tension".

Watch the music video for "Necessary Feeling" on Youtube here:

We start with the first single from the record called "Necessary Feeling". It sounds like the best of 90's alternative rock. Jangly guitars, a solid bassline, and dark, almost Mark Lanegan-like vocals. It's a solid opening number and it sets the stage for the rest of the album. "Ordinary People" is next and it's got that familiar bassline that really moves the tune along. This one sounds a bit like Tindersticks which I love. Another rock solid tune. Track three is called "Naked and Asleep" and it is probably the most poppy sounding song so far. Really strong melody line and chorus on this one. "All The Time" continues the vibe of dark-yet-melodic modern grunge. Solid. "Endless Nights" has almost a Fixx vibe to it. They seem to range from 80's post-punk to 90's grunge rock pretty seamlessly. Title track "Surface Tension" is next and it's a mid-tempo masterpiece. It's like a dark Simple Minds song. I could see this as the theme song to a reboot of The Breakfast Club. "I Can See For Years" has almost a Dire Straits feel to it. I absolutely love the guitar in this one. Mark Knopfler would be proud. "I Feel Off" is a moody track that sounds like the soundtrack to a desert nightmare. I'm into it. "Sparkle Playground" moves right along at track nine. Melodically this might be their best work to date. It's also one of the best examples of the singer, Paul Price's vocal chops. The last track is "Sometimes". Lyrically relatable, and musically straight-forward, I found this to be one of the more accessible tracks on the LP. One of the highlights of the back end of the album for sure.

Good Field are an excellent example of a band realizing it's truest potential in a studio atmosphere. This record is well produced and well played and just a joy to experience. Perfect headphone music after a long night of love lost, or maybe just beginning. Highly recommended.