For young bands launching their careers in 2017, establishing a legacy can be difficult. In this era of streaming, performing a certain style of music isn’t enough to stand out; nascent talent has to develop a fairly original sound early on to connect emotionally with their audience, otherwise they can get lost in a sea of other uninspired acts.
But Mexican trio Sadfields have made it their mission to stand out. The young band has played throughout Mexico’s DIY scene, sharing the stage with acts like Hawaiian Gremlins, Nelson y Los Filisteos, and El Shirota. In their short time together, the three members have honed a style all their own. Listening to their debut album Homesick, there is little doubt or uncertainty about who they are. Sadfields sound reassured; their emotional noisy rock remains nuanced and melodic throughout the project.
Recorded at Testa Studios in León, Guanajuato by Rod Esquivel and Victor Velazquez (the latter an engineer who has worked closely with Steve Albini), the core sound of Homesick is one of controlled chaos, with clean voices alternating between shoegazey explosions of feedback and jangly, soft guitar arpeggios. According to the band, that style emerges from effects pedals used by guitarist-vocalist Daniel Espinosa and bassist Miguel Flores, as well as the close relationship they share with drummer Erick Román.
Sadfields might wander into the great sonic unknown, but the band never loses focus of what’s important. After a brief instrumental intro called “Missing,” Homesick kicks off with “Whenever,” a melancholy tune of deep and progressively euphoric yearning. From there, the band stretches their range; there’s the goth-tinged “I Don’t Know” and the skronky indie rock of “Falling Apart,” which features a sentimentality hardly ever found in this genre, punctuated by mangled guitars and processed vocals. Although “Space Echo,” one of their most well-rounded songs, is also the longest, it showcases their strengths with experimentation and memorability.
Being a young band in an independent circuit can be daunting, but Sadfields have managed to book constant shows and make their mark. It has also helped them zero in on a style all their own, something they credit to discipline. “To develop a ‘mature’ style depends on yourself, by being constant in your work, rehearsing and growing personally and musically. We’re always looking to incorporate what we’re listening to, seeing, and feeling. The bands that we love play a very important role in our development and growth as musicians and listeners.”
The band says the sentimentality of the album emerged organically through the music. “While we were writing, we were going through personal situations perhaps we didn’t feel were worth talking about [between us], but ended up in the lyrics,” they tell Remezcla over email. “Before recording, [the lyrics] were in constant change; for a long time, they were mostly improvised over the melody. When we went into the studio, we had to make sense of everything. Now they reflect a bunch of repressed ideas and feelings that have been bubbling under [the surface] for a long time.”
Homesick balances emotional depth with a fuzz-drenched sound that deepens the band’s lyrical themes of nostalgia, loss, and despair. It’s fresh, relatable, and vivid, a wonderful start from a band with a bright future.
Stream our premiere of Sadfields’ Homesick above. The album officially drops tomorrow, October 20, via Buen Día Records.