The Snowfields – “How to Get Good Sound from a Dead Ear”

The Snowfields’ first release in 7 years comes out on Field Hymns today. That’s right, today. That should be all you need to know, because I find that there really is no way of going wrong with a Field Hymns release. But if you do need some more convincing, after listening to the track “Inner Peace has Jass Hands” above, then please read on.

I think the element that really sets this album apart from most of the analog synth stuff that I have heard recently is the guitar on this one. That is the element that really pulls me in. The Snowfields have really captured that “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” vibe, especially on tracks like “Inner Peace Has Jass Hands.” It’s kind of haunting, but also deeply affecting.  Imagine “Wish You Were Here”-era Pink Floyd mixed with more recent Boards of Canada.

“Diet Rainbow,” however is probably my favorite track on the album.  The guitar adds a particularly  emotional edge on this one, with a guitar tone that is perfect for cutting right through the synths to take center stage.  It really just creeps in there in the background, shimmering through the haze. That little guitar riff immediately brings to mind the opening motive of the song “Shame” from The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Adore” (their best album). The tone of a gently plucked guitar ringing through the distance under a few layers of synth. That one little detail really makes the track.

There are plenty of gems on here from the catchiness of the songs described above, to those that border on ambient like “Two Tone Emergency” and the slow, dramatic growth of “Golden Twilight.” All around, another really solid release from the good folks at Field Hymns.

The album is out now. Pick it up.

And while we’re at it, here are some other Field Hymn tapes that I recommend: Oxykitten, Black Unicorn, Cane Swords, Mattress.

 

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