The Nields

If You Lived Here You'd Be Home Now

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On their fourth album, the Nields remain primarily a vehicle for Nerissa Nields' songs, which here are concerned with the opportunities and pressures of community and relationships. A search for home is the subject of several songs, but Nields makes it clear that home is to be found in emotional commitment, not in a specific place. In fact, the more conventional sense of home is a place to be escaped from: In both "This Town Is Wrong" and "Caroline Dreams," specific friends identified by name are urged to get away, and the spoken word "Barbi Poem" associates convention with artificiality. The songwriter's affection for locations is ironically tinged. In the lead-off track, the catchy "Jeremy Newborn Street," she is content to wait even though she's been stood up, while the "May Day Cafe" is a place she goes to drink alone. Her ambiguous sense of romantic attachment is expressed in a trilogy of songs in the middle of the album, beginning with the unlimited devotion of "One Hundred Names," continuing with the dangerous attraction of "Mr. Right Now," and concluding with "Jack the Giant Killer," which is about domestic abuse. By the end of the record, she declares, "I Still Believe in My Friends." The accompanying music to these songs generally falls into the category of Beatles-influenced, folkish pop/rock, specifically the Beatles music of 1966-67 found on the singles "Paperback Writer"/"Rain" and "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever" and the album Revolver, with their touches of strings and horns augmenting the pop arrangements. Katryna Nields remains her sister's mouthpiece, with Nerissa joining in on harmonies, and she gives the lyrics an emotional edge with the pronounced break between her chest and head voices, which she uses to expressive effect. This is elegant, appealing music that speaks to the varied concerns of contemporary women.

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