Asphodel Fields – Head for the Hills
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: April 11, 2008
When you hear the term rock chic, you may immediately think of musicians who have a reputation for having a jet-setting lifestyle like David Bowie or the guys in Franz Ferdinand, who spend more time worrying about which designer’s clothing they should wear than working in the recording studio. But Asphodel Fields give rock chic substance and purpose on their new record Head for the Hills. Their synth-textured passages and patches of twinkling effects are flamboyant and may have a glam rock flash, but with the rhythmic swells of drummer Nik Bieghler and bassist Justin Vaughn and crisscrossing guitar lines of Kyle Sherman and Nik Bachman, they produce gusto and emo-punk platitudes reflective of Dashboard Confessional. The vocals of Vinnie Trierweiler are melodic sounding and glide with the ease of a ghost moving casually through the melodies.
Asphodel Fields infuse electro-pop with strands of dance-pop, punk, emo, rock, ambient, and techno flicks delivering a cornucopia of music that is glamorous and exciting, and have several commonalties with the UK’s Klaxons and the US’s Secret Handshake. Some features in Asphodel Fields latest release, Head for the Hills feel like a throwback to ‘80s new wave relatable to Roxy Music, but the band also toss in modern stylistics with a pimento-flavored sizzle. The scintillating tones and blustering elevations that streak “There Goes the Neighborhood” and “Kansas” are balanced out with lows consumed in ambient fluids. The soft paddling chords of “How Did You Get such a Huge Head” and “Fizzy Lifting Drink” build into typhoon sized churning coned by twizzling guitar lines. The fluctuations in the speed of the chord flutters rile up and release across “Kaleidoscope” crafting exciting dynamics, while the flowy river of silky phrases lining “A Slight Smile” are tooled in dancebeats and an undercurrent of church-bell chimes.
Asphodel Fields have a proclivity to embellish their tracks with slices of techno squirts and glamorous swirls which intensify each tracks chic quality. The lyrical content gravitates to feeling excluded and forgotten like in “Fizzy Lifting Drink” with verses that cry out, “Before I soak into the sand / Does anyone want an autograph or a picture? / I’m that guy on TV / Did you forget me / How could you forget little old me? / Someone put me down / I’m so washed up / Just put me down.” The words contrast the music, which is very uplifting and harmonious sounding. The lyrics, however, give off a sinking feeling like in the title track, “I see the fire / This is the end / Head for the hills / We’re going under / Don’t go / I’ve been waiting here for you / For so long / Fire / This is the end / Head for the hills / We’re going under.”
The lyrics seem so sad and yet there is not a shred of sadness in the music. Head for the Hills is a sturdy springboard for Asphodel Fields to launch their music into the world’s music market. Their songs are fluid and nicely pulsating fusing electro-pop with rock elements in ways that make their album a quintessential example of modern rock chic.