Fields - If You Fail, We All Fail
I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the story of Fields is one of the saddest of all. It’s not like this was difficult music, alienating, obscure. It was the most shimmery, folklorn, wonderful re-imagining of what else shoegaze and dreamed-out textures could be, what else they could do and where else they could go. Nick Peill thought a good home might be the gap between the city and the country, where rusty folk music could collide with electricity streams, distant noise and pylons snaking away from the urbanism, and his songs could exist in the dichotomy and tension between. He was dead right.
All of that would have been mere posturing if Nick hadn’t written amazing songs to make the theory real. And luckily for him, and us, Nick wrote amazing songs. As it turns out, no-one wanted to listen to them, and the saddest part of all may be that nearly six years of wondering why not have led me the opposite way to an acceptable answer; instead there’s another question. Why does nobody even remember, much less pay attention?
Tours with Mumm-Ra and Bloc Party didn’t do the trick, and neither did a truly bizarre series of MTV shows on the same bill as the loathesome Maccabees, a dynamite ¡Forward, Russia! who had just peaked and were commencing a rapid and depressing slide, and Wolfmother. Fields were incredible that night in Glasgow (5th November 2006, to be exact). They had noise and textures and folk melodies to shake some soul into a vast room of deadheads, but their all-too brief slice of brilliance was of a wrong time, of a wrong place. They played Feathers halfway(ish) through the set and it occurred to a younger, different me that maybe things wouldn’t actually get much better than that. Modernity was tired, and the new breed of aggressive dreamers might do something different just by thoroughly learning the lessons of the creators. Maybe it wouldn’t get much better than Fields. Maybe I was right.
Fields should have been known as one of the best dream-pop acts to come out of the last decade. Instead they left one pitch-perfect album, which I would settle for everyone just knowing of. That record was produced by Michael Beinhorn, he of the chilling production of Glass Handed Kites. How does nobody know about Everything Last Winter? How? This imponderable won’t do; there are lingering cases when meaning the world to a tiny number of people isn’t, really, enough.
The inadequate radio edit in the video above, by the way, splices out minutes of lush, rolling instrumental indulgences, integral to the atmosphere of the song, intentionally echoing Peill’s eternal romanticism - the sun setting over the hills and all is silent, and you’re on your own, and it doesn’t matter, because everything can be good and right alone.