"Strain" (Album, 2004)
German label Dependent has a knack of signing interesting bands. It's managed to sign Flesh Field, who along with Babyland represent two American bands well worth your attention. Something that I honestly don't find myself saying very often. That the reliable German label has managed to sign two of America's finest is testament to their continuing good judgement.
Strain is Flesh Field's third album but my first exposure to them. And I have to say I was surprised and quite impressed. I confess that the youthful good looks of Ian Ross and the especially cute Wendy Yanko, had misled me into creating an imaginary Flesh Field sound in my head that was uninspiring. Thankfully, that was all in my head. For those fans of dark industrial electro have much to be pleased about with Strain.
Much heavier than I suspected with some terrific production touches, the synths are solid and some of the sounds remind me of Front 242 at their best. The songs, however, are very much Flesh Field's own thing. In spite of their fresh faced appearance, there's a maturity to the compositions that has clearly come from experience combined with talent. A great deal of unexpected musical influences are reflected across this album and there's definitely a fondness for film soundtrack atmospherics and strings. Chuck in a shed load of punishing guitar licks and you've got yourself a pretty potent mixture. 7/10
Rob Dyer (February, 2005)
Official Flesh Field website: http://www.flesh-field.com