Review By Bailey Garno
Past Feature Friday band, Still Parade, has released their four-track EP called Fields, and this musical gift could not be more appropriately titled. Light plucking guitar, soft electronic vibes, and the Bon Iver-sounding vocals provided by the Berliner, Niklas Kramer, lend to the natural soundscape feel that this eponymous title suggests you’ll hear.
The opening track off the EP, “Fields,” was the group’s first single, released in March of this year. “Fields” has a little bit of everything you’ll get off the EP–the atmospheric synth sound paired with authentic guitar chords, and Kramer’s minimalist vocals, breathy and light. This combination creates what can be called dream-pop, relaxing tunes that are perfectly appropriate to lying around in an open field.
“Actors” follows the opening track, a stronger song that is a more direct line to the folk sound critics have characterized Still Parade of having. The Berlin-based projected has released a music video to this one, made by Simon Bitterli that is available to watch on Youtube. It is a simple video, featuring colored liquids dropping and diffusing to create soothing and trippy visuals that you could only know work if you watch and listen. Harmonious vocals and the twangy steel guitar lend to this beautiful sound that is truly fitting for a warm, summer night.
My favorite track on the EP has to be “Beach.” At nearly five and a half minutes, the journey listeners will take playing this song is like a trip down a sandy shore. There is so much growth in this song, beginning slowly and working itself up to the fastest tempo the EP reaches around 2:15, and then returning to the original listlessness around 4:30. It’s a a beautiful journey that runs full circle, bringing us back to the point on this illusory beach from where we left. What’s more, the lyrical work is most substantial in “Beach,” telling a heartfelt and relatable story that is really rather lovely.
Last on Fields is “Reunion,” which utilizes the steel guitar again and light electronic sound that is uniformly heard throughout the EP. “Reunion” is distinguished from the rest of the EP by the powerful brass-led bridge heard about halfway through the song. In fact, without this commanding and declarative section, “Reunion” runs the risk of sounding too much like “Actors.” Nevertheless, the track is saved from being such and provides enough variability to satisfy listeners that may be bored by Still Parade’s airy synth sound.
Still Parade’s music is very uncomplicated and unforced, leaving little to critique. However, listeners should go into this album knowing what Still Parade is about, that is creating a tranquil, dream folk sound, otherwise they may find the EP monotonous. But Still Parade is sticking to this unique genre with confidence and ultimately, Fields is rewarding and effortless.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Recommended Tracks: “Beach,” “Actors”