When Summer Comes is a panoramic album, traveling through wistful recollections and insecurity with humor and beaming hope. It’s a reminder that after the separations of the pandemic, after hardship, after loss, we create our own now and we can keep learning and growing and living into the answers.
Field School began as an experiment. As the pandemic pushed us into social isolation, Charles realized that writing and recording with band mates was off the table. But instead of burrowing away to wait it out, he seized the moment: writing, arranging and recording songs on which he played every instrument, learning on the fly. His ingenuity was contagious, inspiring his friend, artist Jimmy Ulvenes, to start Small Craft Advisory to introduce the world (50 cassettes at a time) to Field School. When Summer Comes is a collection of these pocket-sized recordings, released as a debut album on Bobo Integral.
Field School is the new solo project of Charles Bert, who made his mark in Math and Physics Club, the Seattle underground pop combo that set the bar for sugar rush melodies and chiming guitar perfection. Field School’s debut LP When Summer Comes is a self-made tableau of vivid guitars, eclair-rich vocals, and proactive wondering. It is a treasury of reflections on happiness and loss, and how, like seasons, they pass and return.
The result is pure Olympia, Washington, in both form and essence. With nods to K Records-style crash pop and its DIY ethos, Charles creates small-scale anthems, the type of which put Olympia on the map of musical influences. The nearly-mystical natural world of the Pacific Northwest is also featured, with apple orchards, rippling rain and aquatic phosphorescence drifting through the imagery. And with astonishing deftness, Charles channels the questions and affinities of his older self through this effervescent style.