Current New York City residents Youth in a Roman Field aren't interested in conforming to specified musical ideas. Their work is more of a free flowing conglomerate of aesthetics and inspirations. Combining jazz, folk, pop and classical music into a gently roiling noise that buries itself deep in your bones, the band sidesteps any incongruity to create a coherent mixture of rhythmic ideologies and backgrounds. Both sweeping and intimate, the music revels in a spectral romanticism and emotional intuition. Led by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Claire Wellin, the band also brings together a talented group of musicians including Tiffany Topol, Scott Stangland, Cassidy Stirtz, Katrina Lenk and Jamie Mohamdein.
The band will self-release their sophomore record, "Storm Conductor," on April 20. Produced by Stewart Lerman (Neko Case, Sufjan Stevens), the album is filled with a ghostly brew of Celtic-tinged melodies, string quartet complexity and folk-pop exuberance. It combines a dozen different aesthetics into a singular and utterly affecting rhythmic roar that is startling in its clarity and drive.
On their latest single, "I Saw You," the band bridges the distance between their string quartet inclinations and a more pop-influenced approach to music. Built around the spiraling vocal lifts of Wellin and thrumming orchestral arrangements, the track holds tightly to its influences but also gives them room to breathe and evolve in their own time. Where other bands might attempt to clumsily shoehorn these different sounds together, Youth in a Roman Field take their time to make them sound like they belong in the same rhythmic exhalation. Everything has its place, and nothing takes away from the whole, even when the band treads upon some truly exhilarating musical moments. Gorgeously evocative but reserved in how quickly it allows you access to its secrets, "I Saw You" is acutely participatory, giving back as much as you're willing to invest in its luxurious rhythms.