I’m pretty sure that’s a tape deck at the beginning of “Don’t Give Up” by Foreign Fields, so my lofi-centric brain was buzzing from the get-go. And then–and then!- they bring in that soft guitar. If anyone knows how to get an underground softie hook, that’s how you do it.
I think the vibes of this song mostly agree with the first statement on Foreign Fields’ website:
“Foreign Fields stopped running up the basement steps – instead, they turned around and faced the darkness, cautiously daring it to do its worst.”
What an absolute one-liner. Apparently, this rock group centered from Wisconsin should make their way into the poet’s corner, because if the website is anything to go by, the duo knows their way around a sentence.
“Upon first listen the magic of Foreign Fields is still immediately present, but you will find your mind drifting back to the perfectly orchestrated musical moments that are carefully hidden for you throughout the course of the record.”
Why bother writing a review if they’re going to do it for me?
So, let’s talk about “Don’t Give Up”, the first single off their new album The Beauty of Survival. I’m a sucker for the guitar slides and this song is full of them. It really calms you down, so much so I’m hesitant to call them a rock group. It’s soft and mellow, almost like a calm whisper. This song has some high-tempo moments, yes–particularly in the chorus.
But I consider that to be its exception, not its rule. “Don’t Give Up” delivers a melodic, dreamlike, and airy mosaic. It’s made up of a number of different elements; fast and slow vocals, distant synths, digital keys, the rush of a guitar and the gentleness of its chords. Is it a paradoxical mix? No, I don’t think so. I think that it takes great courage and skill to throw this out into the open. Not because it reinvents the wheel, but because it takes a different perspective on it.
I think it’s artsy, but I don’t think it’s pretentious. While their word choice may indicate otherwise, Foreign Fields has a genuineness to the track. I don’t think they’re trying to convince me of anything or trick me into liking them. I don’t doubt that if I stopped listening they would make another song exactly like this one. I think Foreign Fields wants to make good music, and I think “Don’t Give Up” shows you what they’re exactly about. They have excellent use of pauses (or “negative space” within a song) and know exactly how long to keep our breath held.
They know their audience. I’m soon to become a member. There could be many bands like Foreign Fields, yes–it doesn’t take an exceptional talent to slap some soft melodies and reaching harmonies together. But I don’t know, I hear something else. It’s more purposeful than that. The song isn’t a puzzle put together, it’s a picture made of pieces from other puzzles. I think.
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