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Vin Andanar – guitar, vocals; Rob Clifton – keyboards, percussion; Ryan D'Sylva – drums; Mark Robert Fuller – vocals; Luke Peldys – bass
The debut self-titled EP from Australian quintet Gold Fields bursts forth from the speakers with a freshness that cannot be denied. The band’s first single “Treehouse” opens the set with a glossy slice of pop etched with tribal drums. With a rush and a push of propulsive percussion and tribal textures, "Moves" provokes dance-inducing enthusiasm, even as its evolving lyrical hook lures the ear into a Trans-Pacific game of telephone. Percolating with pops and claps, the syncopated rhythms and shifting dynamics of "The Woods" evoke the otherworldly ambience of venturing deep into the wilderness, slivers of light contrasting with singer Mark Fuller's shadowy incantations of "I wish we knew how to play safe."
Compare those three cuts with "Holy No," a sinewy, slow-motion funk groove that creeps along on cat feet of wah-wah guitar and sinister keyboards. While all four selections are audibly the work of the same band, each boasts a distinctive character—just as Gold Fields intended. "From the beginning, we made it a big point to make every song sound different," says guitarist Vin Andanar. "We didn't want to be pigeonholed as part of any scene or specific sound." Instead, they concentrated on creating original music that met their own high standards and was fun to play.
That's not as easy as it might seem. Not when your band is comprised of five avid music lovers with individual tastes. That disparity accounts for Gold Fields' eclectic sound, but also sets up challenges when developing new ideas. "We're not going to release a song until everybody in the band is happy with it."
Luckily, Gold Fields is pretty harmonious lot, the result of friendships that predate the band's formation in early 2010. Growing up in Ballarat, a Victorian era boomtown about an hour's drive west of Melbourne, the five lads attended school together starting around age 12. While that camaraderie is the glue that bonds Gold Fields, this was no leisurely idyll or excuse to hang out. From the outset they were dead serious about reaching a wider audience.
Rather than claw their way up through the club scene, the quintet concentrated on writing and recording the best original material they could. Once they'd fashioned a six-song demo, they sought out professionals to help refine their sound and steer their career. After meticulous research, and a bit of well-intentioned deception on Mark's part, they secured representation with Australian management group Archangelsky. Producer Scott Horscroft (The Presets, Sleepy Jackson, Silverchair) polished up their home recordings, giving birth to the ebullient debut single "Treehouse" plus the material showcased on this EP.
With support from alternative radio tastemakers Triple J, Gold Fields was soon playing dates at the Falls Festival, Field Day, Groovin The Moo and Parklife, as well as support slots for Crystal Castles, Datarock, and Pnau. They've also gone down a storm at intimate venues in Los Angeles and London, where the band supported SBTRKT and The Naked and Famous. Wherever they are, the band members push themselves to give audiences their money's worth… and then some. "We really like to have fun on stage and get into the show," says Vin. Rather than painstakingly reproducing their recordings, they use the studio versions as jumping off points for new arrangements, in hopes that fans will come see them live just to hear what happens next.
In late summer of 2011, Gold Fields spent six weeks in Los Angeles working with producer Mickey Petralia (Beck, Ladytron, Peaches). Upon returning home, they retreated to a remote manor on a farm and continued writing more songs, which they subsequently recorded with Horscroft. The resulting debut full-length is slated for international release later in 2012. But please, don't wait till then to check out Gold Fields. At the rate this five-piece is evolving, you might never catch up to them if you don't start now.