Album Review: Field Music (Measure) by Field Music
Very Good, Based on 10 Critics
No Ripcord - 90 Based on rating 9/10
They always say that you shouldn’t go out when you’re on top. In the case of Sunderland duo Field Music, they were on a middle ground between success and achievement when they decided to go on hiatus in 2007. While Tones of Town was a critical success, siblings Peter and David Brewis felt they had artistically achieved it all under the Field Music bank account, as they like to say.
Let’s quickly recap. Field Music released their debut album in 2005, a compilation of earlier songs and B-sides in 2006, and then declared a hiatus following the release of their second proper full length in 2007. Co-frontmen Peter and David Brewis each released an album with their own projects in 2008 and met touring commitments for the support of those projects, then reconvened last year to write and record their newest album, Field Music (Measure).
A lot happened to Field Music between the release of 2007’s Tones of Town and 2010’s Field Music (Measure). Most importantly, the brothers Brewis (David and Peter) decided to put the band on hiatus and start working on their own projects, the School of Language for David, The Week That Was for Peter. Both groups released excellent albums that had all the hallmarks of the Field Music sound (brainy arrangements, crisp playing, excellent songs) but were also slightly different from each other.
When Field Music announced in 2007 the group was going on hiatus, the band stressed that the break was not a break up. In the ensuing months, brothers David and Peter Brewis kept working-- the former as School of Language and the latter as the Week That Was-- each occasionally enlisting the services of the other. And now, a couple of years later, Field Music have indeed reunited (albeit minus keyboard/utility player Andrew Moore, reportedly training to be a chef).
After their 2007 second album Tones of Town, Field Music's brotherly duo, Peter and David Brewis, took the curious decision to split for a while and form their own bands. Now reunited – with a rejigged line-up – they have obviously been stockpiling an abundance of creative urges. This sprawling double album features a whopping 20 songs, divided into four separate segments.
Sorry Mr. President, but for a moment, let’s forget The Audacity of Hope. I want to talk about the audacity of longwindedness. It takes a lot for a band to stand up and say, “Hey guys. I know you’re used to an album usually lasting between 40 and 50 minutes, but we’ve got an hour and 12 ….
Peter and David Brewis barely catch their breath before they've got another album out the door. When their popular Field Music project went on hiatus after 2007's excellent English pop album Tones Of Town, David used the time to start School of Language, while Peter created the Week That Was, whose self-titled debut made many 2008 top 10 lists (including mine). [rssbreak] Field Music's returned in a big way, with a 20-track double album.
The double album is a concept traditionally held together by a grand, unifying idea. One need only look to works such as Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness or The Texas Jerusalem Crossroads to see exactly what is possible with this grandiose framework—the musical ideas seep seamlessly into the more cerebral ones, yielding both excellent ‘bits’ and an overriding success. Of course, these areas are just the start of the double album’s successful deployment.
The brothers Brewis combine to form a gem of a band. Ian Wade 2010 After dallying around in other outfits such as early incarnations of The Futureheads and Maxïmo Park, Peter and David Brewis formed Field Music in 2004. Presentable gents both, there’s something semi-bookish, almost faintly Rock School about them. Stylistically, they look like a pair of teachers who may roll up at assembly to perform note-perfect renditions of Genesis’ 1980s output.
Galactic Onstage, Galactic is a New Orleans funk band that jams through marathon dance medleys. On its albums, it’s becoming something else: a studio outfit, still funky, that merges hand-played, sampled and programmed tracks and that doubles as a tour guide. “Ya-Ka-May” (Epitaph) is named ….