‘Commontime’ by Field Music (Album)

8 February, 2016 in Music Reviews

Field Music. Pic: Andy Marshall

Field Music: managing to sound both precise and abstract. Pic: Andy Marshall

A wonderfully rhythmic sixth long-player by brothers Peter and David Brewis adds jerky funk to their usual art pop palette

Field Music 'Commontime' album coverThe Brewis brothers have returned with their sixth studio album. Written and recorded in their Wearside studio – with the help of musicians Andrew Moore, Liz Corney and Jennie Brewis amongst others – Commontime plays like a conversation between Peter and David, set over their funkiest sounding record yet.

This is still the intellectual pop that Field Music have become synonymous with, managing to sound both precise and abstract. There is also new rhythmic sensibility, masterfully introduced on the lead single The Noisy Days Are Over – a slice of Talking Heads funk interlaced with saxophone blasts and ruminations on growing old. The slinky vibes continue on Disappointed, Don’t You Want To Know? and It’s A Good Thing.

Shifts in tempo and atmosphere are also plentiful. Though the luscious strings on The Morning Is Waiting For You seem strangely out of place, elsewhere Trouble At The Lights and That’s Close Enough For Now provide some necessary respite. The final third of the album feels slightly overlong, but accurately titled closing track Stay Awake is ample reward for everyone who has made it to the end. A quirky pop track in the mould of XTC, it is another conversation weaving its way around a jerky melody.

Commontime firmly establishes Field Music as a band who are able to make songs that are as catchy as they are interesting, and arty and as they themselves say on Disappointed: “This is as close to perfect as we were wishing for.”

Verdict: Funky adventures in sound

Duncan Haskell