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Sense Field | Living Outside | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop
Living Outside (Nettwerk)
by Tim Den
Poor Sense Field just can't seem to get a bit o' peace and quiet. After finally finding a good home (Nettwerk) and releasing a well-received album (Tonight and Forever, '01), guitarist/backup vocalist Rodney Sellars' daughter was paralyzed in a car accident, which forced the founding member to take an indefinite leave of absence from the band. Quite unsettling news, since Sellars was a huge part of the songwriting force. But the fact that Living Outside is the band's best since Building speaks volumes, not only about how the band has carried on sans-Sellars, but of their - by now well-worn - ability to persevere.
Incredibly, guitarist Chris Evenson and vocalist Jon Bunch - childhood friends and bandmates since the late '80s - pulled through the personal turmoil to come up with an album that emanates conviction as much as it packs melodic bite. There are no signs of defeat on Living Outside (well, except for the awful single "I Refuse"), only prime emotional rock not heard since the band's mid-'90s heyday. Slick over-production no longer inhibits the band's dramatic songs (like it did on Tonight and Forever), rather it emphasizes Evenson's rediscovery of his New Wave melodic influences (such as Gary Numan). A touch of swirling synths here, a bit of electronic drums there, some nice piano arpeggios when called for... Appropriate flourishes that provide the well-structured songs with just the right highlights.
When the chorus of "Burn" and the pre-chorus of "Feel What You Feel" ("hold on... hold on... I'll be there") kick in, I can almost recapture that feeling of pure bliss not experienced since Building. Sense Field are back, once again at the top of the emo hierarchy.
(8730 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 304 Beverly Hills, CA 90211)