With some artists, it’s important to form a structured album that tells a comprehensive story. Songs From the Sunroom, the new album by lo-fi folk musician Field Medic, is more like a series of short stories told in each track that passes. Herein lies a collection of self-recorded songs from his sunroom, a stream of consciousness contained in a few minutes. In short, Songs From the Sunroom is a self-contained yet polished experiment into love, loss, and doing a little dope.
Kicking off the album with an analogue drum beat, “Powerful Love” is difficult to get out of your head, the repeated chorus flowing like a babbling brook. This album is earthy and crunchy. It’s hard not to feel as if we’re 15 again and someone’s cool older brother is jamming with a hand-me-down guitar to a beat machine and passing around a joint. Folk influences and folklore are very present through the first half of the album, taking us into a live track entitled “Do a Little Dope”. Thinly veiled or not, this song harkens back to the familiar riff of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant”. Complete with whistling and howling, this live performance is a powerful folk tool that Field Medic uses directly in the middle of Songs From the Sunroom, bringing us into a communal world and making us feel like we’re at home in the sunroom with him.
The second half of the album brings in more structured tracks. They are sonically cohesive with each other, utilizing more conventional methods of over-dubbing harmonies and classic guitar, piano, and banjo riffs. There’s a warmth to this part of Songs From the Sunroom, though lyrically we’ve taken a turn in a darker direction. Field Medic’s edge cuts through his soothing voice and guitar licks. It’s easy to forget how solitary this album is with the addition of the live track directly in the middle, acting like a placeholder for the goodness of communal folk music. Being reminded of the fragility of singular consciousness is something that this album addresses very well.
Songs From the Sunroom is a deep dive into raw isolation disguised as happy-go-lucky low-fi folk. After being teased with familiarity, we’re dropped into what it’s really like to record songs in a sunroom for a number of months. “Prowler”, a simple eight line poem-turned-song, really helps to personify this feeling with the line, “It’s feeling like a dream but it’s looking like a nightmare”. It can be easy to write this album off as another self-serving folk experiment, but layered truth and growth is the charm of Field Medic. There is nothing disingenuous about Songs From the Sunroom, which makes it all the more relatable and boosts replayability indefinitely.