Field Music: Commontime (Memphis Industries)

Heading across the Pond for a brace of live dates this week, the Brewis Brothers' new set is a delight

Released Feb 5th, 2016 via Memphis Industries / By Norman Miller
Field Music: Commontime (Memphis Industries) Field Music siblings Peter and David Brewis return in dazzling form with this first album of new songs since 2012's Plumb, following time working through notable extra-curricular projects like their Music For Drifters, a fine soundtrack to a 1929 John Grierson documentary about Shetland fisherfolk.

The album's 14 tracks demonstrate an often breathless honing of the erudite pop pizzazz Field Music have demonstrated since their eponymous 2005 debut, adding their own irresistible spin to a roster of influences. But everything is referenced with their own distinctive style: glorious interweaving vocals, sharply rhythmic tempo shifts, slightly off-chords that also seem bang on too.

Trouble At The Lights is a brilliant fusion of slowly meandering keyboard, brilliant tempo and instrumental shifts that builds into a spiralling guitar finale, while They Want You To Remember is another tour-de-force balancing grooving keyboard riff, languid vocal and cello with its bittersweet reflections on family, home and suburbia – like a sprightly update on The Beatles' She's Leaving Home.

There's plenty of loose-hipped charmers too. Opening track The Noisy Days Are Over is a slow seductive Talking Heads-influenced strut, while Same Name could almost be by Prince. Don't You Want To Know mixes slick licks with jerky angles and a vocal echoing David Byrne at his most knowingly arch.

Steely Dan come to mind on tracks like But Not For You and the cool funk of It's A Good Thing, with 10CC in their early years pomp offering a template for I'm Glad and How Should I Know If You've Changed?

Other stand-outs are the mournful piano-and-cello ballad The Morning Is Waiting and the gorgeous Latino-infused That's Close Enough, which starts off like it could be a Jose Gonzalez effort then heads off towards early Rickie Lee Jones territory.

On the closing Stay Awake, the brothers wind things down with endearing reflections on the pleasure of feeling at ease with those around you (“It's a good job that you know me so well”). Fans can rest at ease with this fine album.

US tour dates:

Thurs Mar 24 Washington DC, DC 9
Fri Mar 25 Philadelphia, PA, Johnny Brenda's
Sat Mar 26 New York, NY, Rough Trade
Sun Mar 27 Boston, MA, Great Scott
Tues Mar 29 Seattle, WA, The Crocodile
Weds Mar 30 Portland, OR, Doug Fir Lounge
Fri Apr 1 San Francisco, CA, Independent
Sat Apr 2 Los Angeles, CA, The Roxy
Fri May 13 Brussels, Belgium, Nuits Botanique

UK Autumn dates:

Sat Oct 22 – Sage, Gateshead
Weds 26 Oct – Shepherds Bush Empire, London
Sat 29 Oct – Ritz, Manchester