Like many a concept-heavy creation, it promises more than it delivers...
Tim Nelson 2008
The first solo release from Peter Brewis of Field Music is an musical puzzle, a fractured Paul Auster-esque murder mystery that references 1980s 'progressive pop' and an intellectual experiment in living without media. Like many a concept-heavy creation, it promises more than it delivers, although Brewis's sense of ambition is at least refreshing.
The Week That Was clatters forth with all the excitement of Kate Bush's Sat in Your Lap, and follows up with lashings of Peter Gabriel 3-era synthesizers and marimbas and Adrian Belew-style rock guitar. Sadly, although Brewis sings, ''The detail is the difference'', the lyrical content doesn't quite measure up. In other words, your appetite for this will largely depend upon how nostalgic you feel about the synthesizer and drum-machine-led experimentation of that era. Certainly at times the arrangements seem overly frigid and melodramatic, like a synth-duo with their trousers pulled up too tight, and for all the intricacy and invention of the music, the vocals are bit of a let-down, although at times curiously reminiscent of Eno.
Peter Gabriel provides the most obvious touchstone for Brewis here. Like Gabriel (at least with Genesis) the pieces here are as much obsessively polished fragments as fully-rounded songs, while at times (as on Yesterday's Paper) literary pretensions mangle the melody without much poetic reward. Too brief and too prosaic, the overall story itself remains as opaque as it is intriguing, and there’s probably more fun to be had in spotting the musical references, although the Games Without Frontiers reference is surely preferable to the crashing Phil Collins tribute that opens the last track.
Despite such shortcomings, the album is never boring, and certainly poses the question as to how much deeper Brewis might have dug if he spent more than a week in perfect isolation.