From the first saturated drones and free piano riffs of lead track “I’ve Never Been To New York,” it’s clear Trouble House is a new type of record for Fields of Industry.
Where 2008’s Two Dogs, A Television neatly summed up this Michigan five-piece’s prowess in breezy clean tones and hushed percussion (earning accolades, like “heartbreakingly sparse,” from no less than National Public Radio) Trouble House buries the dials, delivering blasts of triumphant fuzz and barroom stomp alongside shimmering harmony and washed out pleas.
Trouble House. A celebration of The Tragic Sense of Life. Recession rock from inside the sinkhole. Dreams: deferred, exploded and reborn. First time home buyers with sub-prime mortgages, zero down. Small town paranoia for big-city dreaming. Silence littered with trash talk. The misplaced arrogance of youth and empty, nagging gesture of heroism. Prophets cheat death by boiling a life’s work into a few hopeful lines. God gave Rock ‘n’ Roll to you, but he never told you what to do with it.
Trouble House is a rock ‘n’ roll record, in all its messy anxiety and conflicted swagger, owing as much debt to the first British Invasion as the ‘80s wave of “shoegaze” bands. Whatever it may seem to lack in homogeneous tones on first listen, it immediately makes up for in feel: a cohesive, shifting whole sewn together by stirring improvisations that nod to the band’s fetish for out-sounds and live noodling in pursuit of transcendence.
Front man and songwriter Joshua Barton’s baritone still delivers classic melodies and poignant, dryly playful wording, and longtime contributors Joel Schrauben and Eric Gallippo lay down unwavering bass lines and blues-warped riffing. But driving these tunes along this time around is the tireless trap-kit drumming of Jacob Walbridge, forcing the narrative forward with booming toms and cymbal splatter. Filling out these rich arrangements is Joel Skene on electric piano and organ, along with a host of guest musicians, including Damon Tutunjian (The Swirlies) and frequent contributor Mark Wallace (Black Jake and the Carnies).
released July 1, 2010
All songs by Joshua Barton. Trouble House was tracked by Brandon Wiard at Pretty Suite Recording in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Mich., over the course of 2009 early 2010. It was mixed by Barton and Wiard and mastered by Jonathan Visger.