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School of Language Sea From Shore Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Filled with explosive and eclectic invention.

Sid Smith 2008

Filled with explosive and eclectic invention, there's never a dull moment in Dave Brewis' first solo project after stepping outside of Field Music. Along with his brother Pete (who notched up his own solo outing with That Was The Week That Was), Brewis is intent on creating a brainiac juke-box that is encyclopaedic in scope and unwilling to be penned into any particular category or box you care to mention.

Bristling with ELP-sampled syths, thumping fusillades of reversed drumming, shoals of dreamy piano and lots of tricksy George Harrison sliding past Steve Howe-style guitar, what might sound like a worst-nightmare mess on paper, in practice is a kaleidoscopic tour-de-force. Although it's informed and influenced by the past, Brewis proves to be no slave to retro fashions. Rather, he’s a passionate advocate of following impulsive threads and creative decisions no matter where they lead, no matter how obscure the course or outcome.

The shimmering elegance of Keep Your Water is reason enough to fall in love with this album but there are plenty of other moments to send the shivers racing down your spine. The block-tackle slam of Rockist (part 1 – 4 no less, all you prog-pop pickers!) has the assorted density of Bill Nelson's solo rock albums but never forgets how to connect at a visceral level; Disappointment 99 for example has the heart of Robert Palmer but the head and feet of a belligerently rowdy King Crimson.

This caustic, genuinely experimental appetite present throughout Sea From Shore demonstrates the very rigour that's missing in vast chunks of the Indie rock scene to which Brewis nominally belongs. Fluent and impressive, you have to wonder why more music produced these days can’t be as joined-up, challenging and as informative as this.

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