Field Music

Commontime

Memphis Industries

Feb 04, 2016 Issue # 56 - Best of 2015 - Father John Misty and Wolf Alice Bookmark and Share


Field Music, the musical collaboration of brothers Peter and David Brewis, are known for getting their hands into numerous other projects. We've heard a handful of co-produced projects and solo albums from them since 2012's Plumb, so it is fitting that their fifth record, Commontime, sounds like a stable homecoming after a chaotic few years. Commontime is a much more focused effort, more consistent and straightforward than the scattered brilliance of Plumb.

Not that Commontime is missing any of the melody-friendly English pop Field Music are constantly associated with. But there is a more precise emphasis on sticking to one idea at a time, and song structures rarely break down into tangent variations and mini-suites. When major mood shifts do occur, like the very good "Trouble at Light," they skip right past chamber pop and into prog rock. The opening track, "The Noisy Days Are Over," also breaks from traditional Field Music trends by running way past the six-minute mark. In contrast, the average length of a song on Plumb or Tones of Town is somewhere around two minutes. But it's what the Brewis brothers do with that extra time that really makes a difference; a friendly, shuffling beat drives a repetitive bassline greeted by occasional bursts of jazzy brass. 

While certainly a less adventurous record, Commontime relies more on persistence. The unfortunate side effect is an overall void of excitement. There are more than a few high points to be sure, but the record lacks the inventive spark that we've come to expect from Field Music. But at least we now know what it's like when they stick to just one thing for a while, even if only for six minutes. (www.field-music.co.uk)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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