Field Music has been on a three-year hiatus, with brothers Peter and David Brewis working on individual solo albums and touring with their other project, The Week That Was. Their full-scale rock band is back, however, with a 20-song behemoth of an album that manages to keep things interesting the whole way through, nary an ounce of filler to be found.
Field Music was initially lumped into the British pogo-pop revival along with bands like The Futureheads and Maximo Park (with whom the band has shared members). But the band has veered more into prog rock and classic rock territory, never more so than on their latest effort. Yes, a track like “Them That Do Nothing” delights in XTC-styled vocals and bright blasts of acoustic guitar, but the Zeppelin guitar riffs of “Each Time Is A New Time” are the norm, not the exception here. Dueling guitars, bass, drums, and sometimes strings wind and curl around each other precisely and economically. Many notes are played, flicks of the wrist and fingers allow grace notes and arpeggios to embellish the band’s melodies, but it all falls logically into place. In other words, Field Music’s musical accoutrements aren’t for show – they make the songs. The one oddity during the album’s 70-minutes or so is “Let’s Write a Book,” which is built around what sounds curiously like the Super Mario Brothers video game theme music. Still, if that’s the case, it never sounded quite so good, even with the occasional wah-wah guitar solo shredding overhead.
In all honesty, the album wouldn’t suffer from losing a track or two. But the cinematic, nine-minute, orchestral closing track, “It’s About Time,” sums it up in theme and title, marking an epic end to an equally monumental and always interesting new album.