This walkthrough is part review, part description. Let us know if you like this format via @BreaksXLakes or on Facebook.
The Sims’ album Field Notes was released Tuesday via Doomtree Records. Field Notes is the first solo release from Sims since the Wildlife EP in 2011. The album is a step forward lyrically and musically for Sims and the producers. Lyrically, Sims is more direct and rapid fire. Vocally, Sims is more dynamic; even doing some singing on this album. Musically, Cecil Otter, Paper Tiger, Plain Ole Arson, and ICETEP have highlighted these steps forward with production that sounds more No Kings than Bad Time Zoo, but still plants itself further into the future.
The album opens with a crackling bass that explodes into a sampled male voice singing “look around”. Sims’ verse are over sawtooth synths and driving drums. Cecil Otter’s drums flow smoothly from acoustic to electronic. By the end of “L’Audace” you know that Sims’ isn’t going to be holding back on this album.
2: Sims Jong Il
Sims’ raps name drops and declares that he “ain’t no average citizen” over brass orchestra hits, heavy hi- hats, and electronic bass that you can feel. The production is handled by Ryan Olson and Plain Ole Bill who guy by Plain Ole Arson. The song has a video that is a part of the Lights and a Backdrop series.
3: Uh Huh
You may have heard this track in a live setting if you’ve been to a Sims’ or Doomtree show in the past year or so. The lead single from Field Notes targets those who use “just” causes to advance their own agenda’s. Sims’ takes shots at politics, media, and religion atop driving drums and droning synths. This is the second track on the album produced by Cecil Otter. “Uh Huh” feels like a continuation of “One Dimensional Man” from Bad Time Zoo.
4: Scope Or Claw
Sims declares “All my heroes are broke” and speaks about his life path. Sims raps that sometime things get tough; he still wouldn’t have it any other way. This song features Sims changing up his dynamics with some singing on the hook. Paper Tiger creates the smoothest beat on Field Notes with light piano and synth that is rounded into a banging beat with mixture of snares and a punishing kick.
5: They Don’t Work For Us
Sims expresses his anger and hopelessness in public officials. He includes elected officials – “don’t write your rep, they don’t rep you. – and police officers – “don’t call the cops, they don’t work for us.” This dooming soundscape is produced by ICETEP of Killstreak and it stands out on the album. With ICETEP’s production, Sims’ anger, and the recent happenings in Ferguson, Missouri this song becomes the most poignant on the album.
6: The Whale
Sims raps his perspective on the struggles of someone very close to him. Musically, Cecil Otter produces a beat that sounds the closest to something on Bad Time Zoo, but still has the futuristic feel of Field Notes.
7: This Is The Place
Sims and Astronautalis join forces for this track that originally appeared as a single last year when the duo announced their first in-the-round headlining show at First Avenue. Sims talked with the Current about the song during that time.
Field Notes is a solid release from Sims. Each song is it’s own, yet they fit together. Sims’ raps are focused and sharp. The production is in the same vein of No Kings, but it’s even more futuristic. There aren’t any skips on this album, and the only thing lacking in this album is length. Between hearing “Uh Huh” live and “This Is The Place” as a single over a year ago, that leaves only five unheard tracks and I wish there was more.