Lexington Field – No Man’s War

  • Cole Faulkner posted
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Lexington Field

No Man's War - New Folk Records

If you’re a fan of fiddle focused rock and have yet to be introduced to San Diego quintet Lexington Field then it’s high time they were added to the list of new and noteworthy folk acts on today’s circuit.  With a debut full length and follow-up EP in just two years, the band’s ambitions lead to the quick follow-up sophomore full length, No Man’s War.  The album serves as a full introduction to the band’s wide spanning influences dabbling in elements of Americana, folk, country and punk for an audience sure to find something in this varied serving.

Opening with the sub-minute intro of “Fiddle Fister,” fiddler Cami Smith takes centre stage to set the tone.  Soon after on “American Crow” vocalist Beau Gray matches Smith’s feverous strokes with a weathered performance that would sound right at home in the No Idea Records catalogue.  His gravelly tone infuses an edge that rounds out each well-mannered string.  His voice makes a natural match for get-up-and-go bar-born tunes like “Crazy Eyes” or first pumping working class anthems like “The Chemical Worker’s Song.” 

All being said, Gray tends to sing within his safe zone, in some ways saturating the album in his grainy angst, robbing some of the more folk-driven, instrumentally heartfelt moments of the same finesse.  For instance, in “Fireworks” he overrides his female vocal accompaniment, and folk-ballad “Dear Old Friend” could benefit from a softer delivery.  He’s most successful in “Pioneer” when calming himself down into what must be his equivalent of a whisper.  The music matches the vocals and vice versa.

Typically I’d jump all over this type of fiddle-laced punk rock, but I’m left with a level of hesitancy where there should be excitement.  Not to say that Lexington Field isn’t without successes, but there’s a lack of connection that other fiddle inclusive acts tend to foster.  Only seldom does No Man’s War feel as inviting or natural as those of The Dreadnoughts or even Flogging Molly.  So while the album remains enjoyable there’s a certain void just never gets filled.