Release Date: Feb 2, 2018
Record label: Memphis Industries
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Those individuals who, for shame, might have previously overlooked or underestimated Sunderland’s brightest comets, Field Music, finally sat upright in 2015 when Prince famously tweeted a link – twice – to the Brewis brothers’ spare and stylish single The Noisy Days Are Over. Certain clodpoles of this writer’s acquaintance greeted this revelation with bemused incredulity, as though their reductive, indeterminate, whippet-in-drizzle notion of the north of England and equally oversimplified vision of US funk/soul/R&B were mutually exclusive; as though the Club A Go-Go, Wigan Casino and Rod Temperton never existed, and as though Jimi Hendrix never played two songs in Ilkley in March 1967 on a stage constructed from barm cakes and dominoes. Overstated stereotypes of northern grimness are more redundant than ever today, not least when the entire planet is enshrouded in bleakness – and the only reason we even mention it is because contemporary despair is, in large part, what Open Here seeks to confront and ideally dispel.
Political turbulence, new parenthood and an eviction notice all helped catalyse Field Music's 'Open Here'; a soundtrack to the all-too sudden realisation that the world you thought you knew might not make so much sense after all. It’s been a rollercoaster two years since the Brewis brothers’ previous LP 'Commontime', both personally and on a global scale. They were made to leave their riverside studio in Sunderland during 'Open Here’s production; a literal upheaval that’s allegorical, in a sense, for its urgent socio-political themes.
Sunderland, UK's Field Music have returned with Open Here after a brief two years; it's a lush, well-orchestrated affair that finds Peter and David Brewis speaking cleverly and honestly about personal and wide-ranging issues. "Is sympathy too serious a thing to take seriously?" Peter asks, before asserting that there is "nothing else so deep as time and joy," over playful beats, crisp guitars and lilting flute lines. The band have referred to this record as defiant — using positivity in their music while facing adversity — and one can hear this through the album's experimentation, range of instrumentation and major key melodies.