BY MICHAEL TOLAND
The ’80s still hold sway over a significant portion of the rock underground, but at least it’s the starker aspect of the Reagan/Thatcher years, rather than the overproduced bombast of the Springsteen era. In the case of Nite Fields’ debut LP Depersonalization, that means a fascination with the atmospheric jangle pop emanating from the U.K circa 1986. With a preponderance of ringing guitars, brooding vocals and melodies that soar one minute and burrow the next, the Brisbane/Sydney quartet could be mistaken for a living artifact from the reign of 120 Minutes. Not a bad thing, mind you, especially if one is still in thrall to the lushly brittle sound of the Chameleons, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Cure.
The enigmatic cloud cover of “Prescription” and “Come Down,” the shimmering six-string/synth strings mist of “Pay For Strangers,” the acoustic smoke signals of “Like a Drone” and the open air anthemry of “You I Never Knew” truck in familiar elements, but result in eager revival rather than retro nostalgia. Clearing the air with wispy melodics,“Winter’s Gone,” seven minutes of electro-Mellotron, gently waving guitarpeggios and nearly whispered crooning, end the record on bittersweet note. Downcast, tasteful and frequently quite beautiful, Depersonalization borrows from sonics generated three decades ago, but with a lack of self-consciousness that makes it all sound fresh and new.
DOWNLOAD: “You I Never Knew,” “Winter’s Gone,” “Pay For Strangers”