Ambitiousness doesn’t always equate to indulgence, and Grey Fields do a pretty awesome job reminding us all of this in their new album Vesna. Their second LP overall, Vesna lives up to the experimental premise of Grey Fields’ self-titled debut album rather marvelously, but if you were expecting this band to make a copy of their first effort in this sophomore piece, you’re in for quite a surprise with its ten-song tracklist. This is a record profoundly more progressive and gripping than its predecessor, taking elements of folk and left-field rock to a more melodic place than a lot of critics will be anticipating.
The vocal presence is the embodiment of emotion in “Weather the Storm” and the Let It Be-reminiscent “Palm Trees,” but this isn’t solely because of the role our singer is given in the arrangement of these two songs alone. There’s no denying the volume of his voice in both instances, but the breakable tone of the strings in the backdrop is made to be intentionally brittle, emphasizing the potency of this crooning naturally. This is a fat-free indie outfit, and you can tell as much just in a casual listening session with Vesna.
Eclectic song structures don’t do much to hinder the poetic value in the detailed “Zero Sum Game,” “Every Now and Then and Always,” as well as “Mines and Tunnels” or even “Halfway Home.” A minor segue in “Whistle While You Work” would have come off as over the top had it not been afforded the same gruff cosmetic finish everything else here sports, and to my great pleasure, the tracks flow into one another without ever skipping a beat. It’s implied that we’re supposed to hear Vesna as a complete album, but with producing like this, it’s even harder to get up from it once you get started.
The fluidity between the players in Grey Fields is something that could leave a lot of the competition green with envy, and given how unforced they relate to each other in performances of “Ineffable” and “The Luck,” I’m surprised they haven’t been spotlighted more for this specific reason. Anyone can assemble a group of smart musicians for some shared time in the recording studio, but getting artists who can read each other as proficiently as this bunch can takes more of a divine action than most of us are willing to acknowledge. It’s epic, and it’s unsullied by robotic bells and whistles in this album.
APPLE MUSIC: music.apple.com/us/artist/grey-fields/1296890948
There’s just no doubt about it – Vesna is one of the most moving and multilayered works I’ve heard in the alternative genre this month, and probably a solid contender for AOTY among plenty of indie circles outside of my own. The best part about this tracklist is how it both grips us into sitting through every song intently from start to finish while also inviting the cursory cherry-picking session often reserved more for ‘Best of’ compilations and the sort. Grey Fields are on top of their game, and in Vesna, make a case for global exposure I simply have to endorse.