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Field Dress – Holy Field

on November 17, 2011, 7:57am
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Hailing from Austin, TX, Field Dress is an experimental project from Brent Sluder of Prayer for Animals and DENS and Nick Cornetti of Cartright and American Sharks. Their self-released debut, Holy Field, exhibits the intimacy of lo-fi bedroom pop, but with a distinctly avant-garde twist. It’s music that eschews structure and accessibility while shrouded in mystery.

Instrumental opener “Verbs” is a three-and-a-half-minute ocean of heavily distorted, desolate noise driven along by a throbbing rhythm that forebodes sinister happenings ahead. “Spiral Arms” brings faint, effect-laden vocals that put the “harm” back into harmonies. For most bands, “Spiral Arms” would be a baffling selection for a single, but for Field Dress, it’s the catchiest song on Holy Field. Music with post-rock and drone leanings tends to be elongated, but surprisingly, the majority of Holy Field’s 11 tracks are around the traditional three minutes in length for pop songs, ranging from the sub-two-minute “Miniatures” (pun probably intended) to the sprawling epic of clattering discordance that is “Landscaped”.

Holy Field noticeably lulls in its middle section, with the exception of the Animal Collective-channeling “Spoonbending”, but returns to the inscrutable, yet captivating, promise of its opening tracks with the disconcerting chants of “Curious Motion”. To label Field Dress as “psychedelic” is appropriate enough, but it’s too general of a term. Holy Field is more akin to taking a couple magic mushrooms too many and having sensory input so warped and overloaded that connection with reality is severed. The debut of Field Dress is one of those challenging albums that’s not for everyone, but it has some rewarding moments for those accustomed to more avant styles.

Essential Tracks: “Verbs”, “Landscaped”

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