The brothers Brewis combine to form a gem of a band.
Ian Wade 2010-02-12
After dallying around in other outfits such as early incarnations of The Futureheads and Maxïmo Park, Peter and David Brewis formed Field Music in 2004. Presentable gents both, there’s something semi-bookish, almost faintly Rock School about them. Stylistically, they look like a pair of teachers who may roll up at assembly to perform note-perfect renditions of Genesis’ 1980s output.
Self-titled, but identified as Field Music (Measure), is the brother Brewis’ third album, who are now down to a duo after previous intern Andrew Moore fled for a future in cookery. Although both brother’s ‘solo’ albums as School of Language (David) and the conceptual The Week That Was (Peter) were also termed ‘Field Music Productions’, so in essence – if you count the B sides compilation Write Your Own History, which we are – (Measure) is technically their sixth ‘production’.
At 20 tracks, it is literally an epic double. It sprawls, yet always surprises. It’s their take on the rock canon, drawing in the likes of Led Zeppelin, Kate Bush, Roxy Music, XTC and Talk Talk. It shows new wave chops on Each Time Is a New Time, Share the Words and the mid-afternoon FM of Them That Do Nothing; clunking funk on the lopsided Let’s Write A Book; the Zep' creeps in on the colossal striding rock god melodies ahoy on All You’d Ever Need To Say; and there’s post-rock balladry sparseness on the gorgeous You and I.
The title track itself is a cello-driven chamber-pop delight, while It’s About Time is a 10-minute piece for strings and found sound. Fortunately, enough has been written about the folly of double albums in the past, so it’s to Field Music’s credit that not a moment is wasted and nor does (Measure) ever slide into either self indulgence or corner-cutting ‘will this do?’ territory.
(Measure) is a sturdily made piece. You sense the love and energy taken in the Field Music enterprise, and it nods to a proud craftsmanship. Across its many and varied pieces, this collection proves that Field Music truly are a gem of a band.