Reviewed by Matthew Cordle
Treasure Field (based on Matthew 13:44) comprises four UK guys with very diverse musical experience and Swedish vocalist Annika Scutt who, according to their website, came together organically over time having been involved in various recording and worship music scenarios. Reading their biographical info gives a good insight into what the band is about; creating both powerful and intimate music that passionately conveys truths of the Christian faith. Firstly a warning that they have a sense of humour - the first track "Stars" intentionally begins with a quiet scratchy radio-style intro that makes you turn up your volume. . .and you risk being somewhat surprised when the track kicks in. . .certainly an effective way of ensuring the listener is blown away! Put simply, this is an excellent album. Immediate style references would be Deacon Blue and the less overtly Celtic side of Iona, and the band have managed to craft a sound that is at times both "wall of sound" and gentle, with varying degrees in between. They have made good use of dynamic contrast both between and within songs to add impact, a prime example being in "Here I Am Again." Musically the playing is flawlessly solid and Annika's voice is as much at home when powerful and vulnerable. The songs are musically creative, designed so they feel as if they progress rather than just follow standard structures, including interesting features such as a 6/8 time signature in "Here I Am" and enough stutter editing to be effective but not overwhelm the song in "139", based on Psalm 139. The songs are a mix of worship and comment on life; "Full Circle" is a sweet-sounding song celebrating the life-giving embrace of father and son in the Prodigal Son parable. "Blue Mascara", dedicated to a girl Annika met during her work at a Salvation Army refuge, has a somewhat darker feel to the rest. "Only Love Remains" has a different feel to the rest, the profound words initially being inspired by thoughts from a Philip Larkin poem, but based more on 1 Corinthians 13:13 and Song Of Songs 8:6 to define what we know is actually lasting in this world. Annika's vocal on this is beautiful, especially the emotive ad libs at the end. The CD closes with "Good Friday Agreement" parts one and two, two different interpretations of the same song - reflective and then joyful singing of "no deal to be struck, nothing to be bought, nothing to be sold, a gift that's free, this beautiful mystery." Top quality songs and music - a great debut!
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