Sense Field - Living Outside (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Sense Field

Living Outside (2003)


Something about this release just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It shouldn't, I know, but I'm just getting this bad vibe about the whole thing. From the absolutely horrendous artwork and layout [which seems to be catering to teenage girls more than anything else] to the incredibly polished eleven tracks on this disc sets my spider sense a tinglin'. This album seems to scream for commercial success, or at least background music for the newest season of the Real World.

Of course, if I was Sense Field I'd be pining for that elusive brass ring, too. Here's a band that in 1996 was on the king of the post-hardcore [or "emo"] heap, touring with Texas Is The Reason, putting out a split 7" with Mineral and Jimmy Eat World [and later *headlining* a nationwide tour with both bands in tow], and just being on the tip of every fanzine editor's tongue. Since then they've had more label troubles than 99% of bands out there today - only Nada Surf seems to share a similar sob story of recording an album completely, only to have their label refuse to release it. Any fanbase the band built up was lost over those precious years in the late nineties, as kids went off to college, Jimmy Eat World released Clarity, and Sense Field was rendered moot.

So that brings us to Living Outside, Sense Field's blatant shedding of any "emo" moniker that might have stuck with them as well as an obvious bid for a gold album. All the trappings are here - the "rocking" opening track of "Burn," the bouncy playfulness of "I Refuse," the straightforward power chords of album single "On Your Own." Not to cater to blatantly insulting stereotypes, but fans of the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing line should eat this shit up with a spoon.

Still, I like the album. It sounds like I'm panning it, and I suppose technically, I am. The percentage of people on this site who might enjoy this band is virtually nil, so in that aspect, I'm telling you to pass. On the other hand, I just gave my promo copy of this to my sister, who will be entering her first year of college in the fall. This could very well be her Clarity [although the instrumentation here is nowhere near as lush].

All in all, it's not a bad album in the grand spectrum of things, it's just rather bland for what it's trying to be.