Saturday, December 10, 2011
My thoughts on "for every hour" by Fields of Ypres
I am a person of who holds the Christian faith who is disillusioned with industry that has grown up "in His name". Whilst I hold some Gospel music close... I let the rest pass me by.
For me... the songs of Johnny Cash or U2 mean something to me because they aren't within this industry. They don't sing about Jesus being their boyfriend or have some sort of default emotional setting... they sing because they have been given a song to sing. I like that.
I consider "Fields of Ypres" aka Graeme Phillips to come from a similar mould... someone seeking to express themselves and their faith but without the predetermined preset musical expectations that I, maybe cynically, see in the "Christian" music industry.
I jumped at the chance to listen to Phillip's EP "for every hour". I really liked what I had heard in demos and YouTube videos and wanted to hear the end result. All in, I wasn't disappointed.
"Captive" is the first of four tracks and has the most wonderful instrumentation... an almost post-rock drone underpins acoustic guitar and delicate vocals from Phillips. It's a beautiful song with some tremendous lyrics... "fighting fire with a watering can"... I like that.
"Grandfather Clock" was the track I was most eager to hear after loving the version on YouTube. I wasn't disappointed... there is a wonderful wall-of-sound feel to it with the strings and a trumpet adding a real depth to Phillips' guitar and vocals. I found this track uplifting... again through some elegant lyricism.
"Wait for me" has an acoustic Americana feel to it... with Phillips' guitar and vocals intertwined with subtle electric guitar and the sparsest of percussion. The downbeat nature of this track is very "late night"... very chilled in a less-is-more manner than I feel demonstrates a maturity in Phillips' musicianship.
Last up we have "Psalm 139" which has a wonderful wall-of-sound production with strings and a percussive snare underpinning Phillips' guitar and vocals. This is the one track that I needed multiple listens to "get". I feel there are almost too many words for the instrumentation... as if Phillips has to really try to get them all in. It becomes less evident upon repeated listens but it seemed to jump out at me when I first listened to it.
That said, it's a minor point in what is a very promising EP. We need more folks like Graeme Phillips. They bring hope to folks like me.
"For every hour" is available for £4 from Bandcamp and has been physically released on Commercially Inviable Records. Have a wee listen below and, if it's your thing, do your bit to support independent music.