Nov 20, 2023

The shows documented on this live album are ramshackle affairs, the instruments out of tune, the singing off key and in a fake English accent, with bass, drums, and guitar bleeding into each other to muddy the sound, and I’m completely enthralled by the commotion they’re making. It’s hard to believe the Strapping Fieldhands are from America—sounds more like a bunch of Brits locked in a shack on a Welsh hilltop, blasted on LSD and generator gas fumes, engaged in creating a beautiful racket. The Fieldhands hailed from Philadelphia and ran in the same circles as Guided By Voices with whom there are some obvious sonic similarities—lo-fi production, power-rock chords, shades of psychedelia. The lyrics remind me of early Mountain Goats tunes. However, comparing their sound to other bands doesn’t do justice to how unique and otherworldly it is. Mike Rep and Tommy Jay worked on some of these recordings which include the should-have-been-hit-songs “In the Pineys,” “Arrogant Flower,” and “Ollie’s Interfader.” Mike writes lovingly about the experience in the liner notes. Highly recommended. –Josh Benke (Ever/Never, [email protected])

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