Grey Fields is a band from Chicago whose 2019 EP Sometimes the Dark Outweighs the Wonder was a Top Album here on Divide and Conquer. Their brand new release titled Vesna is a ten-song album that “…revolves around the concept of cycles. It’s moody and filled with existential questions, sort of similar to a band like Radiohead.”
Formed in 2016 but with 25 years of experience, Grey Fields consists of Alex Dzamtovski (vocals/guitar/keys), Adam Repp (bass/vocals) and John Polischuk (drums), with guest cello by Yoed Nic of Regina Spektor/Rufus Wainwright fame. They state that their music “combines elements of folk and rock but often fuses that with classical music in terms of structure and instrumentation.” The album was recorded and mixed at home and mastered at The Boiler Room in Chicago by Collin Jordan.
Grey Fields generally features spooky vocals sung as if in a dream, busy and distinctive bass playing, and cello parts that add a cool, neo-classical feel to the proceedings. They reminded me of both early and later Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and maybe a darker Camper Van Beethoven.
“The Luck” begins the album with a short, tentatively picked song that could be taken as a welcome or a warning, though I lean toward the latter. “Weather The Storm” is a seven-minute psychedelic epic that quickly establishes Grey Fields’ debt to Radiohead in the vocals, melodies and extraneous sounds. The bass playing here and elsewhere is unique, a sort of rapid-pulse heartbeat that won’t be ignored. The drums are good too, though mixed mostly center. At about four minutes Yoed Nir’s cello is first introduced, adding tons of class and color. The song changes slowly until the final, triumphant two minutes, taking us from dream to celebration.
“Mines And Tunnels” takes a short break for a whimsical, folky tune about the changes in a loved one over time. It feels like a heartland band backed by aliens. “Maybe My Next Day” kicks in with a smart, solid beat and more spacey chord schemes and vocals. Repp’s bass again plays more notes per second than I thought possible. After a whistling interlude, “Halfway Home” again owes a debt to Radiohead, specifically OK Computer and the song “Exit Music (For A Film).” I love the upbeat, almost bluegrass energy in the second half.
“Palm Trees” opens with up-front acoustic guitars and features an interesting, repeating chord motif throughout, like a record skip. The structure of this song owes a little to The Rutles’ “Cheese and Onions” with some of the nicest cello playing so far, sounding like a string quartet. “Ineffable” features off-kilter beats for a melancholy tune that just barely hangs together.
The big finale “Every Now And Then And Always” leans heavily on the yearning side of Grey Fields, becomes weirdly psychedelic, then gathers itself together into a celebratory tune that recalls Yellow Sub-era Beatles. It’s all the elements of Grey Fields in one teeming package, and there’s a cool graphics-heavy video for this one that does an amazing job of visualizing the music.
Fans of space rock, psychedelic music, and of course Radiohead will really love these guys!
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