Singer-songwriter Chris Porterfield is the heart of the Wisconsin band, offering a humble and honest vulnerability in his craft. Porterfield is not new to the music industry, first appearing in, DeYarmond Edison in 2002 with Justin Vernon, now better known as the artist Bon Iver, and band members who later formed the psychedelic folk band Megafaun.
But it wasn’t until 2012 that Porterfield took the spotlight when Field Report released its debut, self-titled album and gained critical acclaim. Their new album, “Marigolden” is about to be released Oct. 7, and unlike many sophomore albums “Marigolden” does not disappoint.
The band’s bio says this album reflects the tension between, “leading the charge toward an artistic epiphany or headed down a misguided path of self-destruction.” A sense of what the band calls un-grounded anxiety while on the road is a big theme throughout the album.
Through steady rhythmic compositions and vividly sober lyrics, the impression of sadness is clear, but what makes it a good listen are the hints of hope tucked within the music, either expressed lyrically or through slightly happier melodies.
Porterfield has vocals that are heavier than artist Ryan Adams and the music in those vocals captures the country rock feel of Neil Young. Soft beats introducing the folksy melodies of an acoustic guitar open “Marigolden” in the track, “Decision Day,” that features these picturesque lyrics: “And it was gloriously gray/the sun was a radiant underlay/ Fighting, fading, winning, waiting/purring behind milk and cloud and snow.”
Track two, “Home (Leave the Lights On),” is the catchiest song on the album and if track seven, “Marigolden,” wasn’t so obviously the title track, I would say this song trumps it. “Home (Leave the Lights On)” sums up the album.
Two other tracks, “Pale Rider” and the closing track “Enchantment,” are lyrically my favorite songs on this album.
Field Report’s second album is thematic and refined. This is an album worth listening to. I give it 3 stars.