Record Review: Good Field’s ‘Surface Tension’ Impresses with Diverse Sound




By DONNA BALANCIA

Good Field has scored another winner with the album Surface Tension, a beautiful work that incorporates diverse sounds from different eras to elicit tremendous emotional response.

The Austin-based outfit has mastered a modern throwback style, with excellent guitar work and haunting arrangements, and the vocal work of Paul Price is nothing short of remarkable.

‘Necessary Feeling’ Pulls the Starting Trigger

Right out of the gate, the first track on Surface Tension, “Necessary Feeling,” is a gorgeous ’80s sounding piece, with a riff that is obviously inspired by Brighton Port Authority’s “He’s Frank.”

Jim Eno of Spoon was at the sound board on this record, and James Petralli of White Denim was on hand to curate the tunes on creative retreats the band took in Texas. Surface Tension was created on those  isolated retreats to remote cabins and ranches in West Texas, where the band’s music came alive. The guys have some chops with sync licensing, as TV and film work are in their backgrounds. It shows.

Check out the title track off Surface Tension:

Returning to “Necessary Feeling” for a moment because it’s such an interesting work, it feels like Good Field also wants to pay tribute to the 1980s band ABC, who performed the classic song, “When Smokey Sings,” about Smokey Robinson.

Taking an abrupt, but connected left turn, check out the timeworn “When Smokey Sings:”

Good Field Sets the Standard

The other nine songs on the album really run the range, with “Ordinary People” taking on a David Bowie-Black Star element, only not depressing. It’s an upbeat turn that is an excellent piece of imagery conjuring up images of traveling a great expanse at a rapid clip.

“Naked and Asleep” sounds a little like a Tame Impala song, but today a lot of songs sound like the popular Australian psyche band that is set to headline the 2018 Desert Daze.

Interpol Meets the Spaghetti Western

“All This Time,” takes a fuzzy, hollow and haunting sound to a new level. “Endless Nights” is a fun tune that keeps the beat moving along, “Surface Tension” captures the initial feelings when you meet a crush and “I Can See For Years,” is an Interpol-style big sound that echoes back to the old spaghetti western single-note surfer tone.

On “Feel Off,” the spoken words “It’s hot” open up the track that bears a sonic resemblance to a Gorillaz tune, complete with muffled mic. “Sparkle Playground” pays homage to the Strokes with a Roger Daltrey sound and “Sometimes,” wraps the album with a series of questions. What’s life all about anyway? But the track makes the unknown seem palatable, since, as the frontman says, “All We Have Is Now.”

Good Field’s most notable previous album, the 2015 release Future Me is equally good with 10 tracks: “Future Me,” Business,” “Control,” “Hospital Bed,” “Telecommunication,” “Holdin’ on,” “Wait,” “Tonight,” and “At the Airport.”

There’s a definite style and star power to Good Field, and it’s a sure bet this band will be on the top of everyone’s hot list very soon.

'Surface Tension' is the title track off Good Field's latest album - Photo courtesy of Good Field video
‘Surface Tension’ is the title track off Good Field’s latest album – Screen capture courtesy of Good Field video

Artist Name: Good Field

Location: Austin, TX

Release Name: Surface Tension

Label: Independent

Producer: Good Field, Jim Eno of Spoon, James Petralli of White Denim

Track List:

1. Necessary Feeling

2. Ordinary People

3. Naked and Asleep

4. All This Time

5. Endless Nights

6. Surface Tension

7. I Can See For Years

8. I Feel Off

9. Sparkle Playground

10. Sometimes

Musicians:

Paul Price: Guitar and Vocals

Michael McLeod: Bass

Esteban Cruz: Drums

Kyle Robertson: Keys