Gold Fields are supposedly named as a reference to their hometown city of Ballarat, in Victoria, Australia. The band have been around for a suspiciously long time — suspicious, that is, if the first song you heard by them was Dark Again.
Gold Fields’ self-titled EP was released almost two years ago, which makes you wonder where this band has been, or how they have managed to burst into the mainstream with their catchy and melodic dance tunes, drizzled with electric elements and upbeat percussion. Their latest release, Black Sun, is an album that encompasses both their echoing trance tracks from their EP and some deeper, darker new ones.
It might be seen as a bit of a lazy move to toss some of the tracks from their self-titled EP onto this album, but with the band’s recent success, who wouldn’t want to show what potential they had before they made it big? I recall hearing The Woods, Treehouse and Moves when I saw this band only a year ago in March 2012, supporting another great Australian band, The Grates. Little did I know that I caught a drumstick from the drummer of a little-known band that would release an album by the end of the year, tour the world and gain so many international fans along the way. It’s hard to believe that this has all happened in the space of a year.
The first track Meet My Friends isn’t the best piece, but it’s a powerful starter to the album. The second track is Dark Again, the first single from this album, which gave us a taste of what to expect. The layers and depth in this song support the sweet vocals, making this track impossible to resist. You’ll find yourself listening to this gem over and over. Its bridge builds up into a repeat of the buoyant chorus. Unfortunately the rest of the tracks on this album don’t speak volumes as well as this one has.
Treehouse remains my favourite track on the album, mainly because of its soothing vocals and sharp percussion. The lyrics suggest some kind of nostalgia, and together it makes for a catchy song that might not make it to radio, but surely remains a terrific one to be heard live. I’m not a huge fan of electric music, but Treehouse was the track that sold me.
Don’t let the title Happy Boy fool you, because it’s a rather lyrically nostalgic song. It’s one of the more mellow tracks on the album and although it stands quite well alone, it gets lost among the other songs.
Thunder is a lovely piece of dance music, not all that original, but another song that showcases the band’s great use of vocals and melodic softer layers. It contrasts with the colder (excuse the pun) Ice, which has a reverberating background track for most of its duration. It lacks any real climax, with nearly all elements of the song fading out, leaving the reverberating track hanging in the air for a few short seconds.
Closest I Could Get adds to the nostalgic, heavily layered and melodic highlights of the album, and we can see this being Gold Fields at their best. The vocals have the same tonal quality as Treehouse and Dark Again, and we could even call this the band’s signature sound. It may not be completely unique for electric pop music, but the band has done it, and done it well.
The Woods is a riveting piece that picks up the album’s pace. It stands out as being experimental, rather than following the flow of melodies that has brought the album to its current point. It also has a crisper, clearer sound compared to their recording from their EP. I’m not sure what I personally prefer, but if you’re after a heavier, murky set of verses, the version from their EP is the one to go for. Either way, this track doubles up well with Treehouse.
Moves picks up the pace a little, with some very curious lyrics revolving around a series of medical accidents. This seems to be a slightly remixed version of the one from their EP as well. The fast-paced bridge-to-end works well for the song. If the Soundcloud play counts are anything to go by, it’s evident that the band’s older tracks from their EP and their lead single from this album are most popular.
You’re Still Gone heads towards a more electric direction, but with the vocals still mesmerising us the same way they do in Treehouse and Dark Again. I know I keep referring back to those two songs, but they define the album very well, and really highlight the band’s strong points.
The last track on the album, Anxiety, speaks for itself. It’s powerful and heavy, but it’s deep and dark, and has a slightly detached feeling from the rest of the album. It does, however, speak volumes for the album art, which is not only darkly spooky, but is creative and highly supportive of the layers of sound the band likes to employ.
While this album may not be one that comes together very cohesively, you’ve got to hear this album to really get a taste of what this band is about. It definitely deserves more than one listen. There is likely a track in there for every lover, hater, loather and supporter of electric pop. In Black Sun, Gold Fields has shown us that, really, all that glitters is not gold.
For an interview with Gold Fields, click here!