[Album Review] Sunfields- Habitat
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)

by Mark Anthony Brennan


Release Date: May 27th, 2014
Label: Independent

‘Habitat’ by Montreal’s Sunfields sounds, at least superficially, like a mixtape made by a university kid in the 1970’s who still misses the ’60’s but has warmed up to the country folk sounds of the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. There’s the odd Beatles flash-back but the harmonica, steel guitars and organ are all touchstones of that late ’70’s southern California sound.

While all of that holds true for songs such as “Drunken Choir”, “Prairie Girls” and “Sentimental Heart”, when you listen closer to the distorted guitars, the modern song structures and the dark lyrics you begin to appreciate that this is more of a contemporary indie folk band – just one that happens to have a fond attachment to the Summer of Sam era. 

Fact is, though, the more modern they get on ‘Habitat’ the better they sound. The opening track “Ghost” is a gorgeous offering of low key contemporary indie folk. Jason Kent’s slightly husky voice is engaging as he sings such lines as, “You’re just like a ghost no one can see you at all/But you’re deeper than prayer and taller than any wall”. “Kiss Shy” and “Here Comes That Dream” are other examples where they don’t let their nostalgic leanings get the better of them. Having said that, the best song on the album is probably their trippy nod to the Sergeant Pepper-period Beatles, “Belly of the Sun”.

Kent’s lyrics are impressively solid throughout, but on most of the songs it’s the nifty guitar playing and keyboards by both him and Phillip Burns that kick things up a notch — even more so when they’re not reliving the days of Annie Hall.