This Field Music article was written by Macon Oxley, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard
Over a decade on from their eponymous debut album, Field Music are still impressing listeners with their own brand of innovative art rock. Indeed, latest release ‘Commontime’ shows no ebbing away of the band’s creative juices, with an offering loaded with great hooks, impressive instrumental displays and incredible attention to detail.
The opener and current single doing the rounds, ‘The Noisy Days Are Over’, starts the album off in fine fashion. It’s a real mover of a tune; an almost mechanical, clockwork beat underpins the jittering utterances coming from the Brewis brother’s guitars. Brass stabs punctuate and add a little variation amongst the repetition, whilst a wayward sax glosses over the proceedings, culminating in ‘Baker Street’ vibes at 5:38 as exotic strings enter to see the number out. It’s catchy and clever, and a great way to start things off.
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What follows shows no let-up for the band, with some punchy bass and great bursts of guitar. It’s perhaps fair to say that ‘Commontime’ has a little more drive than its 2012 predecessor, ‘Plumb’. There’s a sure focus on groove with this latest offering.
The somewhat rockier sound of ‘I’m Glad’, with its sharp, angular guitars, smacks a little of Field Music‘s fellow Wearsiders, The Futureheads. Here, the riffs are interspersed with some more melodic interjections, which push the guitars aside for some smooth vocal harmonies before plunging back in for a solo.
‘Don’t You Want to Know?’ carries on the mechanical beat from the opener and adds more clever guitar work, with a riff that sounds a little like a quirkier version of ‘Walk This Way’. Another potential musical nod comes at 2:04 with an out-of-place drum break similar to that in Sting‘s ‘Englishman in New York’ – albeit a lot less ridiculous and baffling.
There’s a fair mix of sounds present on the album, though they are all tied together by band’s real attention to detail in terms of musical arrangement, production values and instrumental displays. Indeed, some of the more lavish arrangements take on a certain Beach Boys or Beatles influenced sound. On the other hand, the more groove-orientated tracks evoke a definite ’80’s palette. Nowhere is this more present than on the cooly-delivered ‘It’s a Good Thing’ – an ’80s soul reminiscence.
Apart from one or two misplaced numbers, there’s no knocking this album. It is an incredible release from a band who have constantly shown progression in sound, a real want to innovate and a focus on great production. With enough variety in this musical mixing pot, as well as some great instrumental displays and catchy titbits, this really isn’t one you’ll be getting bored of fast.
‘Commontime’ is out on the 5th February via Memphis Industries.