Field Division is Evelyn Taylor and Nicholas Frampton. Four years on from the sumptuous dream-folk of their debut EP, 2014's Reverie State, the Des Moines, IA duo flex all their lung-power on their debut album, Dark Matter Dreams. Written on the road, where the duo has been living even when not touring, it's a sweeping album with rock vigor and the spark of deeply held convictions, nurtured in the face of widespread modern disillusionment. Vintage influences include Buckingham Nicks, Led Zeppelin, All Things Must Pass, The Beatles, and the 1960s/1970s Laurel Canyon scene, but make no mistake: this is an album that lives and breathes for today.
"Our goal with Dark Matter Dreams was to retain the raw beauty and dynamics that were captured on Reverie State, but to expand on a more driving, forward-moving feeling in the music," the duo explains. "The energy of a live band was something we wanted to capture." That mission is honored as soon as opener "River in Reverse" surges forward, guitars flickering like headlights in the night as Taylor explores light and dark dualities. "Big Sur, Golden Hour" holds tight to core principles, invoking folk festivals gone by for its own sturdy idealism. "I'm done running with fear," the duo harmonizes, before Frampton's guitars and a lavish string arrangement mount in a glinting show of combined power. "Farthest Moon" showcases the duo at their loveliest as Taylor reflects on heartache, while "Lately" finds Frampton offering "a smoke and a shot of gin" to an alter-ego whose bloody nails betray deep anxieties: this, to be sure, is a lived-in album with grit under its fingernails.
As Taylor sings on the psychedelically slanted "Innisfree (Let's Be the Peace Now)," "We're no strangers to the night." That streak of darkness lends muscle and counterpoint to the duo's spiritual yearnings, a combination registered in the psychedelic effects and gleaming guitars of the instrumental "Siddhartha." The mellowed-out invitation of "Stay" builds to a crescendo forcefully, while "Lay Cursed" makes expansive work of the album's longings, climaxing with another reference to Siddhartha in all its intimations of spiritual self-discovery. Darkening currents coarse through "It's Not Gonna Be Alright" and the instrumental title-track, before the apocalyptic lullaby "This Is How Your Love Destroys Me" reaches out for hope in times of struggle.