So, can you really get an idea of how good a band are from an E.P. with just two tracks on it? That is what we are here to find out today.
Glasgow’s Field of Vision’s ‘The Vicissitudes of Life’ E.P. runs out at a grand total of sixteen minutes and forty-five seconds across its two songs and I wanted to know if that short musical interlude can give me an idea of what the band are all about.
But, first, a little history……
Field of Vision was born in 1988 in a rehearsal studio in Glasgow’s West End.
After a brief spell in Glasgow prog band Abel Ganz, singer Martin Haggarty advertised for musicians, and found himself in a rehearsal room with keyboard player Graham Holley, who brought his friend, drummer David McDonald. Immediately striking up a rapport, the vocalist, keyboardist & drummer set about finding two other kindred spirits to make up Field of Vision.
In 1989, the fledgling 5 piece entered Glasgow’s Pet Sounds studios to record their debut ‘Lessons In Predictability’, and the more ambitious ‘How Are Things In Moscow Anyway?’.
Fast forward through lineup changes, wives, children etc until 2008, when the original 3 got together again, with a view to working together. Due to work commitments and other misdemeanours, the serious business of making music did not recommence until early 2013 when work started on the forthcoming EP, ‘The Vicissitudes of Life’, which was eventually released on the 24th November 2014.
Bloody hell, where did Rush suddenly appear from? The introduction to Sand is all edgy keyboards and staccato guitar riffs supported by some energetic drumming and could have come from ‘Hemispheres’ quite easily. Martin’s vocals kick in and his earnest, almost yearning delivery fits in perfectly with the excellent music. This is seriously polished stuff, the production, mastering etc. are top notch, only adding to the Power Trio comparisons. A touch of class is added by the elegant backing vocals of Holly Blair and I am already impressed. A polished progressive rock track with a powerful under current of hard rock that holds it all together, the ever present dynamics of Martin and Holly’s vocal interplay adding a refined depth. That is not all, however, step in David Porter with an intricate, searching guitar solo and another layer of class is added to this already stylish song.
There is a more 80’s neo-progressive feel to the opening of If Tomorrow Comes. The introduction even feels like a more mainstream rock track before the stylish, echoing guitar and persistent bass bring us back into a more progressive arena. I get a feel of early ‘Hogarth-era’ Marillion but with Haggarty and Blair’s vocals giving this track its own definitive identity. Soul-searching and emotive, it seems to be building up to a musical outpouring. The swirling keyboards add a real lustre to the background and that excellent and tasteful production comes to the fore once more. An intricate keyboard interlude precedes a cool jazz infused section that is seriously laid back and chilled before segue into a smart keyboard solo that Rick Wakeman would have been proud off. The vocals then take centre stage as Holly and Martin give a neat and soulful interplay, brooding and seriously passionate, the intense guitar work adding a real edginess to it. You almost find yourself holding your breath as this seriously earnest song fires at all your emotions and plays out with a deep felt lament.
Wow, that was seriously emotive, moving, stirring and, above all, impressive stuff. A two track E.P. that really is worth a listen and, as a forerunner of things to come, should see the band take a big step towards success.
Released 24th November 2014.