Under Review

Field Assembly

Narco

Independent

Review by James Olson


Acoustic singer-songwriter projects can be treacherous affairs to assess. Field Assembly’s second release, Narco, is in the positive-yet-confusing position of being so well-crafted, so subtle, and so enjoyable to listen to that the praise is great yet paradoxically in short supply.

Lyle Adam Fox is an outstanding musician and songsmith, crafting subdued-yet-bold tracks that blend together seamlessly as an album. And that might just be part of the problem. Fox’s voice is distinctive, clear, and articulate, but his inflection and tone rarely varies. Such is the case with the tone of most of the songs.

“Through a Bottle Through a Well” stands out only in that it seems to deviate from the relaxed, wistful atmosphere of the remaining songs in its melancholic minor chord guitar work. The use of additional instruments really brings out the individual character of each of the songs beyond Fox’s vocal and guitar work.

“Storm and Stress” begins with guitar and percussion with languid bass, stately trumpet, and warm keys gradually weaving into the track. “Lions Versus Christians” glides along with quiet grace, punctuated by marching drums, tasteful electric guitar leads, and bookended by yearning harmonica.

The remaining tracks follow suit, incorporating additional instrumentation with such careful consideration and grace in a way to emotionally enrich Fox’s melodies and lyrical tales.

Narco is an accomplished folk album by an equally proficient Canadian talent. Sunsets have never sounded so sweet.