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How to Launch a Career in Five Minutes

The Fields, a British band with a bright future.
The Fields, a British band with a bright future.

In the roughly five minutes that make up its introductory single “Song for the Fields,” the British quintet The Fields maps out musical territory rich enough to sustain a promising career. The song begins innocently enough, with a simple acoustic guitar strumming as haunted-house keyboards lurk in the back. But by the time the rhythm section kicks in at around the halfway point, the band has wrangled a new way to express Radiohead-style soul-distress.

The Fields' variation on that expression shuttles along all heedless and hyperfast, with each blurry verse adding something to an oblique narrative about “setting off fires to watch our bridges burn.“ With its intertwined male and female voices and thick instrumental textures, the band plays with a stacked sonic deck, but more impressive is its instinct for contrasting dark and light: Whenever the skies get too stormy, along comes a reassuring blast of color-burst vocal harmony (a la Pentangle) or a swerving and unconventional chord sequence (a la early Genesis).

When the song ends, it feels like the culmination of a full evening of wrenching drama, but it's hard not to want to experience it again. The Fields -- not to be confused with Field Music, another heavily hyped British act -- will release its first full-length album later this year. If it can put together an entire album of material that sustains this single's level of intensity, it'll be massive.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Tom Moon has been writing about pop, rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop and the music of the world since 1983.