Field Music @ The Haunt, Brighton 18.10.12

For tonight's show, Field Music’s core duo David and Peter Brewis are joined by guitarist Kevin Dosdale and bass player Andrew Lowther, though the Sunderland brothers multi-instrumental talents see them as usual switching happily between drums, guitar and keyboard throughout

Oct 18th, 2012 at The Haunt, Brighton / By Norman Miller
Field Music @ The Haunt, Brighton 18.10.12 Despite their well-deserved Mercury Prize nomination for latest album Plumb and nearly a decade carving out a niche as perhaps Britain's cleverest combo, Field Music seem happy playing charmingly low-key dinge-spots like The Haunt, and a full-house is rewarded with a stonking set.

If Field Music defy categorisation it's not because they don't sound like anyone else but because they sound like a lot of people – often within the same song. Guitar interplays that echo Chris Squire and Steve Howe from Yes mix it with the jerky pop brilliance of XTC, the technical exactness of Robert Fripp, Beach Boy harmonies and simple contrary wonkiness.

A fantastic rendition of ‘If Only The Moon Were Up’ from their 2005 debut could be a poppy take on Gabriel-era Genesis, while the stop-start ooh-aah of ‘Rockist’ from Dave's 2008 solo project School of Language is an early highlight. The dissonant funk of ‘Let's Write a Book’, witty wordplay of ‘Is This The Picture?’ and melodic drive of ‘A New Town’ all add to a strong sense of a band glorying in distinctiveness.

The lovely acappella ‘How Many More Times?’, warmly eclectic ‘Share the Words’ and the chopping slashed pop of ‘Them That Do Nothing’ provide other standouts, while the closing finale sees the gorgeous loose guitar shimmer of ‘Just Like Everyone Else’ give way to the anthemic ‘(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing’.

It may be a cold autumnal night by the sea but Field Music bring a warmth to proceedings that allied with verve and invention makes them a band to treasure.