Field Guides’ debut album, Boo, Forever, is less a compendium of segregated tracks than it is a confluence, a narrative in sound. And like a book, Boo, Forever was written over the course of a decade. Initially a solo project helmed by Brooklyn writer and musician Benedict Kupstas, Field Guides grew to include a rotating lineup of a dozen or so musicians.
The result of the band’s patient gestation is a humid, bright, and surprisingly elegiac record that is also somehow a goddamned pop album. The album was recorded in Brooklyn and mixed in Woodstock, NY, but true to the band’s name, Kupstas has incorporated field recordings from Ithaca, Montana, Pennsylvania, and even South Korea into the mix.
Every burbling Redstart and every grinding katydid and every knocking windowframe is somehow here in recordings by Tom Tierny and Alex Mead-Fox (who’ve worked with Slothrust and Tidal Arm4s, among others), which were mixed by D. James Goodwin (Kaki King, Leverage Models, Devo…). If Field Guides is operating within a lineage, it’s at least as literary as it is musical and includes the likes of Lorrie Moore (whose eponymous track is the prime example of an ebbing/flowing pop elegy), Richard Brautigan (whose work offered up the album’s name), and even Lisa Loeb.