After completing a collection of Los Angeles-themed records, Vancouver's Nicholas Krgovich has gone for something more pastoral on In An Open Field, a lush, carefully produced group of songs that speak eloquently of loneliness and a desire for simplicity in life.
Krgovich has employed a talented group of musicians to record the album, including former Dirty Projector Angel Deradoorian, who lends vocals that harmonize effortlessly with Krgovich's. There remains a grandiose, big picture pop feeling to this album, but it also feels more insular and self-reflective than his previous work. Krgovich instils humour amidst the noir, as the jaunty "Parade" finds him describing himself as "just a sleepy snake / Now all coiled up watching everything happen" before questioning "[who] even wants to hear all of this? From a pauper forever hanging 'round the gate?"
"The World Tonight" is a sweeping, bass-heavy ode to '80s pop writers like Paddy McAloon and Paul Buchanan, its dreamy sophistication enveloping the listener. Krgovich has a full voice, and writes melodies that challenge even his own singing talent, as heard in the song's chorus. Throughout the record, he elongates syllables, always searching for opportunities to engage in melodic play.
"A Day in October" finds Krgovich filling downtempo, keyboard-led pop with wondrous vocal and saxophone harmonies, refusing to let the song sink under the weight of its subject matter. Echoing percussion and pedal steel enhance the melancholy of "I Don't Know" prior to closer "My Riverboat," which demonstrates Krgovich's knack for writing himself "right out of songs, songs, songs." Its smooth key changes, warm trombone and rich harmonies end the album with grace.
There is self-deprecation and honesty to In an Open Field that combines with musical prowess to form a thoroughly enjoyable, thoughtful record. Few writers possess the melodic ability and communicative skill that Nicholas Krgovich does. He remains one of the finest pop songwriters along the coast. (Tin Angel)