Field Medic – ‘Fade into the Dawn’ album review

As soon as Kevin Patrick opens the debut Field Medic album with ‘Used 2 Be a Romantic’ by stating ‘I need a cigarette, those fuckers talked over my whole set’ on ‘Used 2 Be a Romantic’, you’ll be on his side. Kevin follows this up with another admission that ‘I don’t have any time to reflect, I gotta sell some shirts to try and make the rent’ before opening up about his anxiety and mental health issues and offering self-depreciating observations about what his chosen career path has done to him: ”I used to be a romantic, now I’m a dude in a laminate’; ‘I’m tired of playing all my old hits but my new songs are too depressing’.

This blend of black humour and searing honesty is present throughout the record with ‘The Bottle’s My Lover, She’s Just My Friend’ finding Kevin talking about his drinking demons (‘the bottle’s my doctor and my prescription’) and the distinctly DIY ‘I Was Wrong’ offering ramblings about finding a mermaid and being a vampire.

‘Hello Moon’ recalls early Frightened Rabbit as Kevin talks about being a ‘broken child’ and emotionally recalls how he ‘can’t go back’, while ‘Tournament Horseshoe’ is an old-school country song as Kevin shares his love for ‘the only one to help me put the bottle down’ amidst handclaps and grand declarations: ‘for you I’d write a novel or I’d carve a statue’. The swaying electric guitar and lo-fi production of ‘Songs R Worthless Now’ add an extra impact as Kevin talks about the end of the world that his ‘big imagination’ has dreamt up and how he wishes to be surrounded by friends if the worst was to happen: ‘With my last breath I’ll kiss you as the bullet goes in’.

As the album heads towards it final run of songs, there’s a blast of harmonica on the Stephen Malkmus-esque ‘Mood Ring Baby’ and Casio keyboard padded drum sounds on the would-be shoegazey stadium anthem ‘Everydayz 2moro’ – a song that manages to be bashful and heartbreaking while namechecking Taco Bell. ‘Helps Me Forget’ is a sparse and candid David Byrne-style account of searching for answers, even when you’re not entirely sure what the question is: ‘How did I get here and how in the hell am I going to escape?’; ‘I can’t help but feel I’m just broken’.

Full of dark observations and minimalist instrumentation, ‘Fade into the Dawn’ is a record that will have you calling for Field Medic as you feel every part of his pain and insecurities.

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