Field Notes is Chad Hanson's latest solo outing. A former founding member of
prog-rock band the Dutch Flat, Hanson departed to focus on his love for pop;
first solo project was Mines, and now he's moved on to Field Notes.
A collection of intimate,
stripped-down pop songs, Color of Sunshine combines wonderful (if at
times weepy) melodies, warm acoustic textures and wispy laments, with
endearing results. While hundreds of empty-feeling indie-pop albums fail
each year, Hanson prevails by gracefully balancing sincerity and soul. The
raw, intimate production helps too.
Sunshine opens with gritty, Johnny Cash-style acoustic strums that lead
into swift, galloping beats and gentle, heartfelt singing. The rollicking
"Sister Says" is the most upbeat for its slapping rhythm section behind
Hanson's steamy vocal, while the title track recalls Elliott Smith for its
seemingly effortless acoustic guitar playing, dreary mood and depressed,
sleepy vocals: "Lately my friends/ Have stopped coming by/ To clean the
dust/ Falling from above."
As Field Notes, Hanson offers a
brooding set of mostly acoustic indie pop songs, made with enough heart and
skill to keep Color of Sunshine from failing, unlike so many of the
other albums in this vein.