On “Decision Day,” the lead track from Field Report’s sophomore album Marigolden, singer Chris Porterfield sets the stage for an indie-folk project densely packed with symbolism.
“It asks that you stand in the middle of the river and lift up your feet,” says Porterfield in an email exchange with CMT Edge. “We are going to be going on a ride of pain and suffering and joy and love and loss on this record. The song is encouraging you to come along for the ride and see where we go together.”
The Milwaukee-based band is the brainchild of Porterfield, an introspective songwriter whose surname happens to be an anagram of his band’s name.
For “Decision Day,” Porterfield imagines a character with a tangled past who is finally giving up on trying to change it. That leaves her wide open to experience life in new ways.
“The narrator has been stuck, mired in some situation,” he says. “And the more she fights it based on instinct, the worse it gets. She’s chewing her limbs off. But she woke up one day and found a secret to navigate all of this, and it’s submission.”
But rather than wrap that awakening in a sunny melody, Porterfield instead focuses on a coursing, unrelenting rhythm.
“Rhythm is how we know where we are,” he explains. “It gives us context. We can navigate to the next point if we can push off from the previous one. There’s rhythm all around us. Every morning is rhythm. The tides are rhythm. Feeling that lets us know that there is more to what surrounds us than just us. And hearing it pulls us in.”
Conveying that rhythm turned out to be a worthwhile exercise of its own. Percussionists Shane Leonard and Ben Lester built their deceptively complicated parts by banging on everything from to a detuned violin body to an old cereal box.
“Let it take you where it wants to take you — whatever ‘it’ is — but do it actively,” Porterfield says. “Take the ride knowing that you are taking a ride.”
Marigolden comes out Oct. 7, and the band has tour dates scheduled into early November. Check out the album’s first track, the sublime and revealing “Decision Day.”