Australian group Gold Fields went into recording their debut EP, Black Sun, with a philosophy that was both dangerous and intelligent. “From the beginning, we made it a big point to make every song sound different,” says guitarist Vin Andanar. “We didn’t want to be pigeonholed as part of any scene or specific sound.” This thought process could have given them a scattershot, confusing album, but instead they were able to keep themselves from being just another club mix. Black Sun transitions well from four-on-the-floor beats to ephemeral moods as the album progresses, but the latter is where they do their best work.
Gold Fields set the mood on tracks like the gothic “Happy Boy” and the suitably titled “Ice”. The former has a looped piano line, like a major key take on the theme from Halloween, over heartbeat drums and funky bass, while lead singer Mark Robert Fuller’s monotone harmonics slide out bitter lines such as: “When I walk out of here / this place won’t change / because I’m going to be happy.” “Ice” sounds like the expansive Arctic Circle, an impressive feat for a band from the sweltering death of Australia. It earns a pass for the overly-dramatic lyrics (“Nothing’s cooler than…ice”).
The more upbeat tracks like lead singles “Treehouse” and “Dark Again” are solid, danceable numbers for any time on the weekend after 10:00 p.m., but they’re forgettable in light of their slower, cavernous counterparts. “The Closest I Could Get” is the middle ground of climate and emotion, spanning the distance between the club and the empty miles around it. It keeps both the tribal beats that effuse throughout Black Sun and the underlying melancholy of the album. Overall, the few great tracks balance out the filler, and Gold Fields manages to forge a hodgepodge of weathered songs into something wholly emotional.
Essential Tracks: “Ice”, “The Closest I Could Get”, “Happy Boy”