Being a three piece hailing from the South West of England and dealing in ambitious, thoughtful, progressive rock, it’s hard not to draw a line between Neon Fields and Brit prog Titans Muse. And certainly, on the fulcrum piece of their new, self-titled album, the superb Light Them Up, there are elements of Matt Bellamy and company at play. The glorious, fuzzed out, drum-heavy final denouement of the song is certainly Muselike, if that’s a word (it is now – Ed), but luckily for all concerned, there’s far more to these guys than mere mini-musings.
The band do follow in the great tradition of British prog, but it’s more to the art rock side of things rather than beards, patchouli and eighteen minute elf-based trilogies. You’re as likely to bring names like Tears For Fears or Talk Talk to mind as anything, and when the band heavies things up a little – on the superb, slow burning Burial, for instance – Aussie mainstays The Butterfly Effect is another reference point thatmight be helpful. But for the most part this is actually a quite singular outfit that draws these many strands together to form something pleasantly unique.
Vocalist Edward Barrett is a relatively understated vocal presence, but his power lurks in the intensity of the delivery of his lyrics. Soul positively leaks from his contributions, and he uses his voice well in conjunction with the instrumental contributions of drummer Luke Russe and guitar/keyboardist Piers Ward. Together the three deliver a dense but never overbearing sound, where nuance and drama reign over sturm und drang.
Progressive rock is definitely an oversaturated market at the moment, and too many bands end up clogging up the genre’s arteries with music that just doesn’t live up to either hope of expectation; Neon Fields are not one of those bands, however, and Neon Fields is an album packed with absorbing, thought-provoking music, music which deserves the widest possible audience. Have a listen and see what you think!
Neon Fields is out now.