Field Music - Plumb (Memphis Industries)

Field Music have existed on something of a tangent since their 2005 debut. They’ve refused to bow to any of the prevailing winds that have swept through independent music since then, and their fourth album Plumb stands as proof that their tenacity has paid off. Having remained unashamedly loyal to their native Sunderland and forgone the bright lights of London, Field Music have set about evolving into one of the most intriguing bands currently on offer.

Released Apr 9th, 2012 via Memphis Industries / By James Pullin
Field Music - Plumb (Memphis Industries) Plumb is deceptively complex. Look below the surface of the tracks and the musical dexterity of the Brewis brothers reveals itself, like a drop of ink diffusing in a glass of water. Whether on the bass heavy shuffle of ‘New Town’ or the slow burning prog-pop of ‘Guillitone’ it’s clear Field Music are bursting with ideas. The term ‘prog’ may strike fear into the hearts of many, instantly evoking images of men dressed as wizards simultaneously playing 23 keyboards with a gourd. Field Music dispose of such nonsense and take only the essential aspects of the genre; the adventurousness and the experimentation. These elements are then combined with a sure footed pop nous, giving rise to such joyous moments as ‘(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing’ which sounds like Metronomy’s gifted but troubled mackem cousin after a bad day at work.

These songs are patchworks; threads of various ideas that are tied together with little regard for conventional song structure; the ideas merge together in the blink of an eye and tracks consistently take a turn for the unexpected. This can be both a blessing and a curse as ear grabbing hooks are occasionally dropped soon after they arrive. As one song bleeds into another it’s hard not to sometimes feel nostalgic for the brief nugget of gold which has just passed by.

Lyrically Plumb contains enough English idiosyncrasies to fill a leaky watering can. The creeping anxieties of ‘Who’ll Pay The Bills’ or ‘Sorry Again, Mate’ tap into a stream of quiet discontent that has been flowing since ‘Waterloo Sunset’. ‘Choosing Sides’ contains arguably the album’s most impactful lyric; “I want a better idea of what ‘better’ can be / That doesn’t necessitate having more useless shit”. It’s these striking instances of insight that reverberate across the whole album and keep it etched in the memory. While Plumb may be slightly too intricate to gain the mass recognition it deserves, for those who do discover the Brewis brothers’ album the experience will be captivating.