Review: Field Music – Plumb

When we last heard from Field Music it was with a double album that was populated by classical, found sounds and progressive rock, as well as their usual new wave and 1970’s pop-rock tendencies. For the first time, though, there was a sense that they had over-indulged in musical ambition at the expense of their usually pin-sharp songwriting. Perhaps mindful of this, the Brewis brothers have reconvened and done almost the opposite by clocking in songs at a rate of every two minutes for a compact single album.

At the beginning, the sound is bombastic with big drums, strings and harmonies making one think this is a step back in time to the 1970’s when Wings and 10CC flew the flag for great British singles. Even the song titles speak of an old-fashioned sense of Englishness (‘Sorry Again, Mate’, ‘Who’ll Pay The Bills’) and it has to be said that few bands perform falsetto quite so effectively as Field Music and so it proves on the terrifically hooky ‘A New Town’ (“I’m stretched like a nylon wire”) and the sparkling new wave of ‘Is This The Picture?’.

It’s also a measure of Field Music’s talents and comfidence that they are able to save some of their best material towards the end of the record. For their more reflective side, ‘From Hide And Seek To Heartache’ ranks alongside their best work with a gorgeous descending piano chord melody, uplifting strings and a superbly melancholic vocal turn. It’s also hard to resist the beautifully realised romantic despair of ‘Just Like Everyone Else’. Then the record ends with another terrific number but the finish seems really abrupt; as if someone unplugged the record player when it was in full flow.

Considering they’ve crammed fifteen tracks into just thirty five minutes, it’s incredible how they’ve incorporated so many styles and key changes, often in the space of one small song. For sure, there are several times when one wishes a moment would endure for longer but at least that ensures interest is maintained from start to finish.

Web Sites:
Field Music Official Site

Further Listening:
10CC, Wings


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