Field Report

Field Report

Partisan Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


In light of Bon Iver’s recent success, is Wisconsin the epicenter for hushed indie rock yet? Well, if not, it just might after the world picks up on Field Report, a six-piece folk style band from Milwaukee. Spearheaded by Chris Porterfield (Field Report is an anagram of his last name), he actually played in DeYarmond Edison with Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) before going his own way with his solo work. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Overall, this is a very calm listen. Field Report works with cautiously picked guitars, aching pedal steel, flourishes of piano, and very gentle melodies. Porterfield's voice rarely moves past a whisper as he relays personal stories of the struggles he has been dealing with in the five years it took to make this album.

“Fergus Falls” is the first track here and sounds like someone with a very contemplative mind and a good sized Bob Dylan collection. Building from sparseness into detailed instrumentation, the banjos and buried drums set the mood well, though Porterfield's concise wordplay really solidifies this is a fantastic first track. Though Porterfield is half the age of the songwriters he most resembles (Springsteen, Cohen, Simon, etc.), his songs flow with a similar sage-like grace and sophistication. “In The Year Of The Get You Alone” sounds like a tune The Boss himself could have penned. Though most of this debut album hoovers around Americana, alt-country breeziness (“I Am Not Waiting Anymore” is one of the best songs of this ilk in recent history), “Chico The American” contains some electronica and near the end of the album, “Captain Video” turns things up with a classic rock feel and crashing cymbals.

Having been handpicked to open for Adam Duritz (Counting Crows) and Emmylou Harris, there is no reason why Field Report couldn't become a household name. Though their self-titled album is often a stark listen lyrically, the music here is gorgeous and emotive, and the melodies are so warm and soothing. Though he may never win a Grammy like his former bandmate, Porterfield has succeeded in creating one of the best singer-songwriter style outfits in recent years.

Rating: A

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