Review Summary: We're expecting rain in Chicago...3 of 3 thought this review was well written
Spitting words of poisonous repulsion over the artists' choices to release postmortem albums of limitless mourning and grief about deceased friends and relatives has become a common thing in my usual music-revolving chats. Thankfully, such a thing doesn't occur with Flashbulb's second LP, which drew inspiration from the death of Benn Jordan's grandfather. Those familiar with Jordan's work can easily imagine him finding repose in a small room, almost big enough to store a rather old pc, a midi keyboard and a classical guitar, quite calm and determined. He would rather want not to speak too much, he 'd like to sit there all day and create some of his beats and melodies. The room would have a window, and at times he would stare aimlessly to the outside, when his fingers hurt from the arpeggios and his ears buzz from the drilling rythms.
Yes, that's a vision that suits Flashbulb's humble artistic nature. These Open Fields
is an album which evokes that feeling of loss through mild affirmation. Its crestfallen disposition, while present, is indirectly shown, and usually shrivels to an opaque ambiance that conceals most of the emotional load. The music here is strangely weather-like: the songs flow with exceptional ease, like phases of cloudy day, letting some brighter notes shine through the overall moodiness. But be careful: the sun never truly Shines in These Open Fields
. It rather radiates its warmth and light through the clouds' density, like "Pipin" does, between the gentle despondency of " The Warren" and the rainy atmosphere of "I Am An Unbreakable Shard of Glass". And somewhere near the end of the album, in the vibrant melody of "Eleven Ways to End the Pain" you'll be lucky enough to spot some sunrays piercing those fluffy clouds. It seems that Jordan's open window really affected his writing process.
His beats, either following quick or slow tempos, are carefully placed upon lush waves of tender synth carpets - "Joking About Killing Yourself" will give you a picture. It is in this album where they truly begun their ongoing dialogue with the acoustic guitars and the piano, as well as their lasting relationship with the muttering voices, which here are either weather reports or apologizing whispers. Together with the multiple rain, bird-singing, people-walking samples, the backgrounds created are worth listening with attention. However, Jordan's true capabilities are neither traced in such multi-layered soundscapes. It's his ability to include unique solos in 2-minute songs like in "I Can Smell You on My Bed", and to squeeze emotion in rather frigid drum n bass tracks like "This is the End of Everything". And while such virtues would be expanded further in his latest albums, These Open Fields
exposes Flashbulb's tenderness in a more delicate way. Completely devoid of standout tracks or centerpieces, These Open Fields
smartly brackets all these elements that constitute an album classic, and chooses to mourn stoically on its own.