Album Review: The Silver Field – Sing High! Sing Low!

90242786_131618498404915_1992983452340715520_oThe Silver Field

Sing High! Sing Low!

Words by Julia Grantham

I first met Coral – the woman behind the band name – on a crisp clear February evening back in 2019 on the outskirts of the city of York.  Our interview about her debut album Rooms (released on the O Genesis record label) was discussed, as was her journey through music. Her presence that night on stage was both grounding and peaceful. Her music has many subtle layers of depth and her craft, unique. I am delighted to review second album from The Silver Field Sing High! Sing Low! (out now on Crossness Records).

Upon an initial play of the album, I found it to be both pleasing and comforting. An evident growth in musical development and the richness that both harmony and melody can combine is present here on all nine tracks in such a way, that differentiates this LP from the stripped back debut. However, the songs are present and written as they were felt and experienced as was suggested on Rooms. The music here has more variation, showcases more depth and artistry than the debut album which was stunning in itself.  So much so that along with the new record label, comes new direction and the end result is exactly what an audience would want from a second album.

Dry Light opens up this nine-track release and is immediately hypnotic. Coral’s now trademark looping of a sound or idea provides the introduction and soon makes way for an ethereal vocal appearing in such a clear and softly sung manner, its effect is both soothing and penetrative. Unlike other contemporary music, The Silver Field imparts wisdom in such a way that demonstrates not just a journey, but its findings, its lessons and its truth. Dry Light has an air of mystery and magic about it, with scattered almost incidental drum rolls, swirling layers of sound and floating instrumental passages. It is like one long intriguing prelude leaving us yearning for the next song.

Hearth Bite is stark in its opening bars and has a much more industrial, urban sound which is nice juxtaposition with its country cottage title. Coral’s voice changes style here and adopts that of a spoken-word poet. Pull the mountain closer seems to indicate struggle, a desire to overcome.  Or it might just mean a longing for the country, or a backdrop, a pastoral scene.  It is quite dark, but deliciously so. It questions everything, and feels like The Silver Field are taking us wading through layers of a dark forest to seek the truth. Different songs by other artists might have so much instrumentation that the vocals do not always feel prominent. The Silver Field highlights the self and the vocals and lyrics cannot be ignored. The music is sublime and consistent throughout the LP.

Song of Wandering rejoices the pathway to self-discovery. The first thing we hear is just like sparkling twinkling stars on a clear night with a full moon. It has more of folk style than the previous two songs and celebrates all that is elemental and natural. It possesses all the imagery of an ancient poem. I like the line someone called me by my name. It celebrates recognition and validation for being oneself. If you close your eyes, you can picture a beautiful scene by getting lost in the language of flickering stars, fire, berries, streams and silver fish. If anyone reading this is looking for a song that they could play softly while sinking into a warm bath by candlelight, then I urge you to play this song and get in touch with us to tell you if it helps with relaxation! It does this for me and I’ll be sure to pass your message on to the artist.

Day Flowers is perhaps my own personal favourite song on this most wonderful album. Immediately we are treated to a soft, simple melody and a very pleasing and soulful one at that. Opening with just a simple string-sequence, it sounds as though it is played on a mandolin and whilst I wondered what it would sound like on a harp it is perfect just as it is and is perhaps the lightest of sounds on this collection of songs and has the softest touch. It is a love song. It is an ode to that perfect person you’re the why I get up with the sun and go down with the break of the day. The song has very few lyrics, it needs no more nor less.

The Valley Spirit is reminiscent Factory Floor for it’s stark and industrial sound. It opens with an urban sounding alarm, almost like a juxtaposition of a smartphone alarm and the pulsating undercurrent of city life opening up for the day. It is a very short track at just under two minutes. What is most intriguing however, is the fact that the song’s title seems to bear no resemblance to the sounds depicted. It is wonderful though. It requires our concentration and as with other tracks it is subtly hypnotic.

I think Salt Light is perhaps the most autobiographical song on this album. It invites the listener to identify with a feeling of being alone, something which some of us have all felt perhaps more in 2020 than ever before.  Again, by looping musical phrasing and sounds, the effect of the instrumentation is grounding and has a soothing effect. The lyrics are paced, slow and clear and the narrative depicts a walk at night-time, alone and hints at how empowering that is. The pulsating synth sounds are coupled with layered beautifully harmonised vocals, which build slowly and steadily as if to add to the notion of becoming more empowered as the walk goes on.  The line seeing my own windows is very striking, like self-recognition or acceptance, answered wonderfully from the affirming sound of strings.

Another standout track comes with the album’s finale Fire Dream. It opens like an unknown pop song I felt a Proustian link with.  In fact, I almost expected Tracy Chapman or someone similar of her standing to start singing! Coral uses a spoken word approach to her lyrics. I can’t help but be impressed with the display of a range of techniques that are present in this album, and this song embodies so many of those.  It is uplifting in so many ways, not least for the lyric all you can do is keep walking as if to suggest the importance of carrying on in any given situation rather than let life defeat you.

I think what is perhaps so striking about this second album from The Silver Field is the many varied styles of instrumentation, the self affirming lyrics and the exploration and fusion of different genres.  Notably different from the debut – although that is not to disparage either record – Sing High! Sing Low! invites us to be ourselves, and to experience that through self expression and awareness, we can learn so much about ourselves, others and the world which surrounds us.

Stay in Touch

Find The Silver Field on Facebook
Instagram: @thesilverfield
Twitter: @thesilverfield

Listen to Sing High! Sing Low from The Silver Field here

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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