Last Sunday, music writer Marc Masters tweeted a "music critic challenge: review a record by a female artist w/out comparing her to other females." And without doubt he has a point. When it comes to writing about women who are involved in whatever genre of music, namedropping of other artists of the same sex appears to happen all too easily, all too sloppily and overall ill-considered. Sure, not every comparison is unreasonable, but ever so often the writers' general attitude may be boiled to one critic's response to Masters' allegation: "It's not our fault all women kinda sound like Kate Bush." Be it mere laziness or actual bias, I'd agree that too many write-ups suffer from a culture of throwing female artists together too easily, which ultimately leads to a sneaking oversimplification of their work due to an implicit denial of each musician's uniqueness, as if even more so than their male counterparts, women were somehow stuck in an endless circle of creative repetition and mutual plagiarism.
When Chicago's Lindsay Powell, hitherto known as part of prog experimentalists Ga'an and one half of sister duo Festival, started releasing solo material under her moniker Fielded, comparisons to other contemporary female artists were quick off the mark, too. It was 2010, after all, and just like the work of a few other, more prominent women in that year, Powell's output started off as fashionably dark and gloomy and employed synths, with song titles like "White Death" or "Demon Seed". And even though Powell's forthcoming sophomore LP Ninety Thirty Thirty is worlds apart from her Catholic Tapes debut Terrageist, it seems safe to predict more light-minded references. Her outstanding vocal skills providing the record's unequivocal focal point, Ninety Thirty Thirty unashamedly celebrates and explores the glamorous tropes of pop music's Golden Era, in an outright manner that makes it an album that perhaps shouldn't even exist anymore nowadays. Exerting sheer grandiosity and unconcealed splendour that has been kind of outdated for at least twenty years, yet without ever making an overly nostalgic or reactionary impression, the LP is truly brilliant, rightfully deemed a 'cosmic art-pop opus' in the press release.
Album track "Eve of a New Moon", proudly premiered here today, is a perfect example for the LP's concept; utilizing almost baroque means such as lush sax solos and enchanting background choirs that immerse the listener, the song nonetheless completely fixates one's attention on Powell's stunning vocal delivery. Take a listen below.