Album Review: Field Medic — ‘fade into the dawn’

Posted: by The Editor

If I could ask Field Medic frontman Kevin Patrick Sullivan one question, it would be: do you have enough time to breathe? The artist released two projects last year, boy from my dream and little place, totalling 10 tracks. And now, before 2019 is halfway over, he has gifted us with a new record.

If you listen to fade into the dawn without paying close attention to its harrowing lyrics, it’s a mellow, serene record suited for unwinding. Much of the production is ambient, acoustic and fuzzy. Influences of traditional country music seep into some tracks—“I was wrong” is twangy and “Mood Ring Baby” opens with harmonica. “Henna Tattoo” is lush and cozy, while “Hello Moon” drifts and sashays. This sleepy sound has been a constant in Field Medic’s sizable discography, but this record marks a turning point.

In some ways, this album is a departure from the frills of his previous work. While Field Medic’s other tracks have often touched on joys like wanderlust and falling head over heels for someone special, fade into the dawn dives deep into pain. In fact, the opening track is titled “used 2 be a romantic.” In that song, he states “I’m tired of playing all my old hits / but my new songs are too depressing.”  This song might make music fans realize they don’t know much about the life of an artist and even ask themselves: “am I the problem?” In it, Sullivan recounts a performance made awful by disrespectful attendees who held conversations during his set.

It’s easy to believe that touring is one fleeting adventure after another, but that’s not always the case. He explains that it can be isolating (“I’m on the road with no one I love in sight”) and anxiety inducing due to circumstances like financial instability and frequent travel. This is also touched on in “Everyday’z 2moro” when he mentions unemployment and having to rely on the generosity of others in order to have a room to sleep in. Sullivan is a hopeless romantic, which is hardly a surprise considering he’s a man who wields an acoustic guitar. In “Tournament Horseshoe,” he places a woman on a pedestal (“for you, I’d write a novel”) and in “Songs R Worthless Now,” he claims that if his life were about to end, he’d use his final moments for a kiss.

Being in love is a thrill, of course, but harboring such strong feelings can also cause a person to disintegrate. “Henna Tattoo” is about being struck with envy upon realizing the person you had a falling out with has moved onto someone else. It seems that Sullivan’s romantic woes have lent themselves to self loathing. He calls a woman a princess and himself a poor boy (“Mood Ring Baby”). He characterizes himself as a “broken child” (“Hello Moon”). fade into the dawn is a meditation on how to cope with the collateral damage of chasing fulfillment. What do you do when you’re passionate about music, but also passionate about being able to pay rent? What do you do when you pour yourself out for a person, only for them to not reciprocate that enthusiasm? In his case, you make music about it and hope the sorrow subsides.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Bineet Kaur | @hellobineet

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