Nite Fields may be an Australian four piece originating from Brisbane, but they conjure up a sound of thousands of miles - and the odd decade or two away - from their Sydney base. Looking like a lost band from the Rough Trade roster of 1982, they’ve spent the last couple of years releasing low key standalone releases while working toward this debut.
With explicit musical references to a record collection that screams out "ANGLOPHILE!", they’ve come up with a collection of songs that take a look back at British indie music’s past through the lens of a country thousands of miles away. It sounds like they’ve (or for some reason wanted to) spent their early years living in a Northern town, in 1985, the music even sounds grey.
Tagged into the post-punk sound, Nite Fields prove to be a much more considered act. But they don’t have the jagged edge of that genre - if anything, the ambiguity of shoegaze merged with the jangle of the mid ‘80’s C86, alongside a considered kind of bluster (see The Monochrome Set, House Of Love, Vini Reilly guitar chimes and Hooky basslines), pervades matters.
There’s little urgency here - musical weariness accompanies lyrical content of yearning. Danny Venzin drawls “Take the hole in my heart, and fill the void” on opener “Fill The Void", there’s a need for escape on “Hell/Happy” ("Round and round and back and forth we go/fly away and land beside me”) and general human requirement on "You Never Knew" ("You wanna put me down/raise a frown/ you wanna whip the heart from my inside/take away the beat").
There are some dazzling moments here. The closing two minutes of the aforementioned “Fill The Void” contain a stimulating fusion of insistent monotone guitar lines and swirling organss that's definitely glum, but also manages to sound euphoric. The use of electronic beats and hazed guitars on the instrumental “Pay For Strangers” is woozily anthemic (See Teenage Fanclub’s “Is This Music” from their ’91 classic Bandwagonesque), and the gorgeous acoustic lilt of “Like A Drone” with its introduction of non-committal female backing vocals results in a modern day take on “Just Like Honey”. Venzin’s languid vocals are cut from the same not giving a fuck vocalisms of Jim Reid throughout the album, but that's most apparent on this track.
Depersonalisation is bleak and minimalistic in approach, it’s bummed out, (there’s even a track called “Come Down”: note the gap between the two words). The anti-sheen of these self-produced tracks (mixed by Nigel Lee-Yang of HTRK) gives the music the intimate musky warmth of an old cassette. Among this lo-fi production lies dashes of cinematic atmospherics and a mass of confused emotions. They need you near, but find it easier to push you away.