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FALLOW FIELDS FROM BRITAIN
LOS ANGELES TIMES, FEBRUARY 17, 1988
by Cary Darling

There was so much smoke billowing from the Roxy stage Monday night during the Fields of Nephilim's hour set that there should've been a surgeon general's warning posted at the door. Certainly such pompous, humorless British bands as this are hazardous to your health.

With their semi-spaghetti Western attire, densely textured songs about violence, clouds of eye-stinging dry ice smoke and vocalist Carl McCoy's hoarse bellowing, the quintet tried to take the black-clad crowd on a walk through the evil side of the human psyche. Sporadically, it summoned up a certain brutish charm as guitarists Peter Yates, Paul Wright and bassist Tony Pettitt stood like menacing, fog-shrouded sentries while McCoy rasped his way through such songs as "Dawnrazor" and "Power." Yet more often than not, these fallow Fields were just grasping at the tattered, frayed coattails of gloom which Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy wore years ago.

Arizona's Caterwaul seemed a far less calculated blend of dark moods, pounding rhythms and jagged guitar. Never mind that singer Betsy Martin twirled like Stevie Nicks' vaguely demonic younger sister or that she sang mostly indecipherable lyrics like Siouxsie Sioux with an adenoid problem, the quartet still conjured up compelling music and images.