by Adeem Bingham, Editor
Australian songwriter Kerryn Fields is a poet whose soundscapes are transportive and vast. Her new album Water was recorded beside the sea, under a full moon. And, as if that’s not magical enough, it was also made in only three days with a five-piece band. Centering her signature vibrato and patiently plucked guitar patterns, it is a record that builds the production around the songs themselves.
The unflinching sincerity in Fields’ vocal delivery is as strong as ever on Water‘s opening track. With all of the casual potency of a Brandi Carlisle lyric and the quivering emotion of Joni Mitchell, “Atlantis” delivers a gut punch of a love song. Featured string arrangements from Jen Anderson frame Kerryn’s voice in absolute elegance.
Detailing the dissolution of her marriage, “Escape” is dripping with vivid imagery and homegrown grief. Textured with rich, lush guitar chords and an orchestrated chorus, Fields manages to manifest all of that heartbreak into four-and-a-half minutes of tragic beauty.
“Queenie” is a particularly singular track on the album. The warmth in Fields’ lower register is stunning, and the simplicity of the arrangement points towards the influence of Bob Dylan. It’s truly a testament to what a powerful performer she is that this effortless song never feels like it’s missing anything, carrying the entire weight of its tender message with a fingerpicked guitar and Fields’ conversational vocal delivery.
Ultimately, Water is a record full of humor and heartache, informed by Kerryn Fields’ sharp wit and anchored by the life experiences that she stumbles through in its lyrics with disheveled triumph. Grounded in its intimate live recording setting, the entire experience feels raw and alive. It’s a timeless snapshot of the human experience, as interpreted by an artist stealing glimpses of joy out of the infinite darkness.
Water is available now on all platforms.