Bicycle Thief. Fields.
Bicycle Thief/Bandcamp, 2013.
Bicycle Thief: http://bicyclethief.bandcamp.com/
Bicycle Thief arose in 2009 from David Vila of Stealwater and his desire explore other music genres outside of Stealwater’s typical alt-rock sound. Bicycle Thief instead ranges into indie folk with spirit. Following the album Notch in 2010, the Fields EP was created in early 2013 and released this April. Both Notch and Fields recount journeys, of the personal and larger scale varieties respectively. Fields draws from more points of view to give a grander perspective than the previous album.
For a first professional studio album of a band, Fields is polished and refined. The technical details are all spot on, and the musicality is just as good. A Letter to the Sun starts out mellow, but adds in big-B Bass lines that give an almost organic or primal feeling to the song, especially when buzzy electric guitar and drum brushes appear. The dissipating, then returning music about half way in has a feeling of cheating death for one last chance. After this initial miracle, The Witness Saw it All is upbeat and happy, with bright horns playing a feature. David Vila’s vocals in the title track is a highlight in my mind. This is a Spanish group, but singing in English, and his accent comes through nicely here. Personally, I like to be reminded where music comes from, and hear some vocal variety. Garden grows up from a sparse track to a complex, multi-faceted piece that is a joy to listen to in spring while looking through seed catalogs (for anyone with those plans this weekend). I Will Hope continues the cheery and forward-looking feel of Garden before launching into a slower paced, toned down finale in Vaarwell. Even this lower keyed song has optimism and a certain muted joy to it.
The whole album is just six songs, so it’s not a long time commitment (perfect length for a short run or so), and the download on Bandcamp is “Name Your Price,” so cost shouldn’t be an issue to owning this little gem. Make an investment in this independent music project. You’re reading Ear to the Ground, so you obviously love music, and this price option is a great way to show your support.
Personnel: David Vila (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars), Diego Herrero (drums and percussion), David Martín (bass, electric guitars, organ), Rodrigo Gallego (trumpet), Arturo Cerrato (saxophone)
Tracks: A Letter to the Sun, The Witness Saw it All, Fields, Garden, I Will Hope, Vaarwel