Album of the Week: Field Medic – fade into the dawn

fade into the dawn‘ is best summed up by the closing line to ‘Mood Ring: “One day you lick my wounds / the next day you break me in two.” The first proper full-length on Run For Cover records from the previously prolific Bandcamp artist fluctuates between being downright depressing and deliriously euphoric. The country-western ‘Tournament Horseshoe’ will have you dancing a jig while the dispiriting ‘songs r worthless now’ will drain you of all the hope you’ve ever had – it’s about how the universal power of love stands no chance in the face of terrorism and natural disasters.

Kevin Patrick’s, the IRL name of Field Medic, struggle with alcohol dependency is the central narrative here, and like the album’s instrumentation it’s a tale of highs and lows. Patrick made the album while touring all-year round after quitting his day job; and he decided to quit drinking, only to return to it halfway through a particularly gruelling set of shows. The album charts those successes and failures, on ‘Tournament Horseshoe’ he sings ‘she’s the only one to help me put the bottle down’ only for that resistance to break on ‘the bottle’s my lover, she’s my friend’ when his lover leaves him after his addiction causes him to go missing: “I’m looking past her so she’s cutting me loose.”

It ends tragically with “Helps me forget” – a song about how Patrick uses alcohol to obscure his internal doubts. On the closing number he sings: “It makes me convinced I’m changing that someday soon I’m gonna wake up strong, bold and brave but I can’t help feel I’m just broken.” It’s a heartbreaking conclusion but one that’s testament to Patrick’s unwavering commitment to honesty. Few albums this year will possess more integrity than this one.

fade into the dawn is out now on Run For Cover Records.

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