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In Your Speakers

Field Study, the new project from ex-Parlour Steps frontman Caleb Stull, has entered the world of all that is art rock with a hurricane of harmonious pop. After a hiatus that turned into an inevitable break up with the Vancouver-based indie pop quintet Parlour Steps, Stull embarked on a two year journey that resulted in the emotion soaked, indie, art pop collaborative record that is Feverland which was released October 15 on Nine Mile Records.

An album that dips into dreary and depressing at times without ever leaving its intelligence behind, this collection of eleven tracks proves that though Stull may be done with the Parlous Steps portion of his life, he is far from being done with the world of catchy and consuming indie rock.

Stull collaborates with a slew of very talented friends on the album including Kenton Loewen (Dan Mangan’s band), Johnny Andrews, Shaun Huberts (Tegan and Sara), Debra-Jean Creelman and Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother). It’s hard to say exactly what Stull was going for with this album, but whatever it was, he has done it very well. Starting off his first solo effort on a more solemn note, Stull weaves intimate lyrics into the melodies eccentric art pop. Then he kicks it up with songs like “Stuff You Break” which incorporate his poetic lyrics with pop beats that make the track undeniably catchy.

“New Sun” is a thoughtful duet that shouts, “Honey, a new sun rises” over soft guitars and drum beats, it’s ever so catchy but sweet at the same time. Possibly a song written about the trials and tribulations Stull experienced throughout the two year process of writing and rewriting, recording and rerecording Feverland.

The album as a whole tells the story or a man on a journey of self-discovery. Feverland is unclear whether on this journey leaving things behind could have positive or negative consequences; that’s what’s great about it, as the listener it’s a up to you to decide. On the album’s composure, Stull said “I was looking to keep the Parlour Steps momentum going but instead 2011 and 2012 ended up being a challenging time of gypsy travel, heartbreak and a mini-loss of innocence.”

It certainly shows throughout Feverland which listens like it was written by a very articulate yet very heartbroken man. If you’re like most music junkies, impatient and always looking for what’s best there a few tracks that stick out on the album as exceptional. At times when listening through, Feverland’s tracks melt together into a sort of emo indie jumble of sadness, but you can’t miss the crazy good ones if you tried. “Stuff You Break,” “New Sun,” “Ends of the Earth” and “Come Find Me” all incorporate Stull’s somber indie rock voice with pop rhythms that make for some truly beautiful and surprisingly catchy tracks. If you’re going to skim through the album, make sure to give those four your full attention.

If the first full length by Field Study was an experiment, it was one with overwhelming results. Stull really channeled something unique into Feverland. With back and forth vocals over indie melodies that are huge right now, this field study went exceptionally well. 

Muzik Dizcovery

As Caleb Stull puts it, his past few years were spent struggling through "gypsy travel, heartbreak and a mini-loss of innocence." Feverland, the debut album from his new project Field Study, plays like the secret soundtrack to his misfortunes. The scrappy indie-rock songs here blossom into atmospheric, brooding soundscapes Grey's Anatomy will be more than happy to use. Yet even as they dip into darkness, they defy wallowing: "Lost & Found" and "New Sun" are too bouncy to mope to, and surprises like the blistering rocker "Stuff You Break" and the super-poppy "Come Find Me" keep the album's pace going. Stull, for his part, grounds the melancholy with sincerity and the slightest hint of urgency, suggesting that even if he hasn't quite found peace, he's just fine with where he is now. In that light, Feverland shows him at his most vulnerable—and perhaps also at his most courageous.