Nite Fields Depersonlisation

[felte; 2015]

Styles: post-punk, downer pop, shoegaze
Others: HTRK, Ned Collette

Gloominess is a complex thing to communicate in music. Vast emotional matter can’t be easily condensed into a personal reflection, and the further task of bringing that to someone else — let alone a willing, open recipient — is fraught with the usual missteps of marrying one’s own experience with the extra-personal I’m sure we’re all well-accustomed to. Nite Fields seem to bathe in an emotional isolation, and on their debut album — a fairly typical post-punk experience — they offer nods to a vague despondency through a collection of inward-looking pop vignettes and forlorn pop songs.

Simply shrouding a monotonous call (“Are you a sinner/ Are you a saint”) in a chorused-out setting of guitars is by now well-worn, a cheap route to realizing the kind of gloominess that is attractive and pleasing but does little to penetrate beyond a glum “shoegaze” situation. Of course, it’s not like Nite Fields are the first to use these instrumental devices as a means of attempting to meet their aims, but the glimmers, the hints, the insular nods that can evoke a surprising amount require a confidence and a deftness that just isn’t really there.

It’s not for lack of sophistication or investment; I have no doubt that bandleader Danny Venzin is not an emotionally inept husk; in fact, the content of Depersonlisation never slips completely into humdrum cliché, lyrically or musically. But the two never quite mesh into that necessary state that facilitates the striking moments of, say, album mixing engineer Nigel Yang’s Work (work, work) as half of HTRK or of Ned Collette & Wirewalker’s 2.

However, the instrumental “Pay For Strangers” marks a simple, unabashedly melancholic semi-interlude between album halves that offers a less self-conscious perspective of Nite Fields’ sound, revealing of an effortlessness that could very well grow into a distinct force in future work. It’s not as if Nite Fields are beyond redemption or a different outlook. The signs are there, but they just haven’t come together in a way that makes significant impact — at least not yet.

Links: Nite Fields - felte

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