Gold Fields – Black Sun
Record Label: Astralwerks
Release Date: February 26th 2013
Australian five-piece Gold Fields is a band I’ve recently been acquainted with; I literally found out about them about a week ago in an email for MTV’s “Artist You Need to Watch.” Well, they are certainly a band I need to watch, especially after listening to major label debut Black Sun. I listened to a nine-minute sampler of the record on their YouTube channel, and I was very intrigued and excited to buy it. From what I could tell, it featured elements of indie-pop, indie-rock, electronica, disco, and even some EDM. It’s indie-rock on the poppier side, but that’s not a bad thing whatsoever. I love indie-pop, and this is a wonderful record in every way, shape, and form. I’m not surprised I haven’t found this band sooner, merely because they randomly just showed up on my radar. Some bands and artists do this to me, where they’ll just randomly pop up out of nowhere, but I just go with it, because Gold Fields is a wonderful band, so it doesn’t matter when I checked them out. The most important thing is that I did, but if there is one thing I’m surprised about, it’s why they’re not more popular. I’m all for my favorite bands being popular, and recognized for their craft unlike people who believe in the whole “selling out” mentality, which is true to some degree. I digress, however, because this is a review on Gold Fields’ new album Black Sun, which is a brilliant record, in all honesty. As I mentioned, it features elements from a myriad of genres, but its core genre is indie-pop. Throughout the entire 44-minute record, indie-pop is the main one that shows up the most, and if I had to, that’s what I would classify them. So, with that being said, this record definitely fits very well within the ranks of bands like Two Door Cinema Club, Vampire Weekend, and Phoenix, all of which use synth and keys a lot more than other bands in the genre, so their sound is a bit more electronic-based. Is that a bad thing? No, not at all, because I happen to enjoy these bands a lot, but this band does have something that sets them apart and it’s in the form of vocalist Mark Fuller. His very unique falsetto paints a lot of dreamy and exotic pictures on the record through his lyrics, which are quite interesting to say the least. The music itself is rather unique, but isn’t too different, or eccentric to be written off, or obscure. It’s kind of right in the middle, which is what I like as well. It’s unique, but still accessible, and appealing. The record itself is also something that I don’t see very often – it’s cohesive and doesn’t drag on whatsoever. Every song is quite unique and has its own sound. There are a couple of “filler” tracks on here, but they don’t slow down the record. The tracks that hit really hit, and I mean they hit. This band is quite new on the indie scene, but I expect them to take over in the same way that bands like Imagine Dragons and Mumford & Sons have. However, I don’t expect them to reach the same level of success, because those bands are quite appealing. Gold Fields do have a rather “obscure” aspect to them. With that being said, though, let’s look directly at the black sun, shall we?
The record begins with “Meet My Friends,” and I think that’s a really fitting song for the beginning of the record, merely because essentially, Fuller is saying, “Hey, I’m Mark Fuller, and meet my bandmates, who are also my friends.” It’s kind of a really fitting introduction to the band, and the record itself. This song actually is a very good introductory song as well. I had not listened to a full song by this band before I purchased this; I merely listened to the album sampler they posted that I talked about earlier, so I had a vague idea of what to expect. What I found was pretty much what I thought I’d find, thankfully. I wasn’t completely surprised, but I was surprised enough. I had a feeling I would enjoy this a lot, and of course, I do. This song definitely shows of what the band is made of, and leaves me, the listener, with a great first impression. It’s not quite my favorite track, but it certainly gets better, nonetheless. Second track “Dark Again (Lights Out)” is one of the highlights of the record, surely. First track “Meet My Friends” has indie-pop influence, and doesn’t really stray too far from that, but this song is a bit catchier, and a bit more energetic, too. One thing I will point out is that a few songs are about five minutes a piece, and that’s okay, because these songs are wonderful, actually. They don’t drag on whatsoever, as long songs (as well as long records) do sometimes. Third track “Treehouse” is another track that I absolutely adore; it has a very dream-pop sound to it, and while it’s quite straightforward, it does its job nicely.
Sadly, though, this does have a few filler tracks on them, or tracks that are enjoyable, but just don’t do anything for me, really. They’re not as memorable as other tracks in the record, such as “Happy Boy.” This track starts off with a really cool bass riff, but just doesn’t do much for me, to be honest. It’s quieter, which is really interesting, but aside from that, it kind of just fades into the other tracks. It doesn’t have a memorable hook, like “Dark Again (Lights Out)” or a track like, say, fifth track “Thunder” which immediately follows. This song has a nice hook to it, and incorporates some pop and dance elements to it, which makes it a very enjoyable listen, and breaks up the album a bit. Sadly, next track “Ice” causes the album to go into the forgettable territory again; well, it’s not a bad track at all, but compared to other songs, it doesn’t do much for me, as I mentioned. Although, the record does get a lot more interesting with the next three songs, “Closest I Could Get,” “The Woods,” and “Moves.” “Closest I Could Get” is a rather straightforward indie-pop track that has yet another catchy hook that does get me invested in the song, which is how good songs should be. “The Woods” is a shorter track, at about three minutes, and in fact, it’s the shortest song on the album, but it’s one of the few tracks that hits the hardest. It alternates between indie-pop and dance-pop, which is really interesting to me. Following that, “Moves,” is the most blatant “dance” track on here. In fact, this is one of my favorite tracks on it, because it’s so unique, compared to the rest of the record. But it’s not too unique, either. In the middle of the track, there’s a dance “breakdown” that’s just absolutely killer. It’s the most energetic track, and it’s cool that it appears right before the end of the record. Do the last two songs top “Moves”? Well, yes, and no. “You’re Still Gone” kind of takes that “dance” vibe, and combines in with the indie-pop sound, as a few other tracks did earlier. It’s very subtle, but it works nicely, because it’s still quite interesting. Last track “Anxiety” is a really cool song, too; it’s really chill, and really ends the album on an awesome note, actually. If you’re into indie-pop with substance, definitely check this band out. The name of the record really reflects what this band is about – they’re a black sun, in the sense that they are “on fire,” but they’re kind of shadowed by plenty of other indie bands trying to make it in the genre. This is a record and a band worth checking out, though.