Field Guide's 'Field Guide' Is an Intimate Self-Portrait

BY Holly-Anne GilroyPublished Oct 26, 2022

Field Guide's sophomore full-length album is making its way out into the world, and it's bringing all the chill vibes you can handle along with it. The self-titled release gradually unfurls over twelve tracks, one being a "reimagined" song from his previous album Make Peace with That. In a statement accompanying the record, Field Guide's Dylan MacDonald states that these songs are the rawest he's ever written — it's a truth that's beautifully translated through the first listen and only engrained more deeply with each subsequent dive into Field Guide's golden-hued sway. The album creates a gentle atmosphere, with moments that feel as though the listener is sitting across the kitchen table from MacDonald, coffee in hand, as the Winnipeg songwriter freely strums his guitar and hums the songs to himself. Field Guide rides the line of charm and solemnity well, versatile enough for a wide variety of listeners.
Multiple tracks include vocal breaks and unedited takes that add an impactful level of human emotion to Field Guide. This vocal rawness, paired with MacDonald's lyrical melody line wraps the listener in a warm hug — it feels like returning home. This is especially true of "Remember When," possibly the album's highest high. The song looks back on a relationship that lacks the connection MacDonald is looking for, as he feels the other half of the duo doesn't want him but rather "his attention." The last fifteen seconds of "Remember When" hold the most intimate moment of the album, as MacDonald is left strumming his guitar part slowly and intently, a world away from the reality around him. The moment drips with a heavy melancholy, tenderly reflecting on the four minutes that precede it. If you're new to Field Guide's world, and are searching for a place to start listening, "Remember When" will cradle your heart.
Another noteworthy track is the sombre yet catchy "You Could Be Free." With a melody that's impossible not to hum along to and chords that perk the ears and stir the spirit, it's an excellent showcase for MacDonald's clean, uncomplicated vocals, always emanating from a sincere place within. The entirety of Field Guide demonstrates how valuable this asset is — the songs themselves are satisfying and well-written, but it's MacDonald's voice that really catches your interest. Armed with honest lyrics and always soothing melodies, Field Guide's Field Guide is the sound of an artist who's fully settled into their voice. 
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