Thursday, 1 March 2012
Release Date: 13/2/2012
The Brewis brothers reside within a balance between old and new on album number 4
With fellow Sunderland townsmen being the likes of Maximo Park and The Futureheads, Peter and David Brewis, the mastermind sibling partnership behind Field Music, are probably the only band from Sunderland that have made more than two albums and not fallen by the wayside of smarmy indie favour. And there's a good enough explanation for that- Despite always seemingly dwelling in their parents' record collections from the '70s and '80s, musically anyway, they have always found new ways of harmonising the old with pushing new boundaries, something double- disc 2010 comeback "Field Music (Measure)" proved in abundance.
On 4th album "Plumb", that marriage of new and old is perhaps more prevalent than it's ever been. The band's musical style firmly imposes upon itself the continuation of well- worn comparisons like Genesis, XTC and ELO, but spurred on by the turbulence in the current political climate, it often unveils furious and sarcy ventures into such rhetoric and modernity. Musically however, it more or less stays in hark to its old influences and heroes.
There's a wealth of classical experimentation here making it more akin to the second disc of "... (Measure)" than anything else the band have done. "Start The Day Right" opens up awash with a melodious violin section and twinkling, sparkling keyboards. "Sorry Again, Mate" is lead into the charge by a collaborative string and brass section, turning it into an ELO- esque bout of pop eccentricity that the aforementioned band could probably claim copyright for. Where "Plumb" really picks up though is when the Brewis Brothers slide back into the realm of intricate musical mastery and experimentation, which has always been their joint defining feature.
"A New Town" is a twisting, groovy and angular XTC- esque white- boy funk shuffle that sees the brothers address a troubled relationship in contrary jovial style as they sing "A new town is not enough." "Choosing Sides" is the album's opus, featuringly seemingly all lengths of the siblings' creativity. It starts off with a duel melody of squelching synths and horns, before becoming an angular bop reminiscent of Grizzly Bear at their most electrifying, and ending on a funkadelic rattle. At the same time it manages to express anger at the current consumerist society in Britain, as Brewis sings "My Generation is opting out of choosing sides." "Who'll Pay The Bills?" is another off- kilter, funky pop tune that points the finger accusingly and is fuelled by anti- strike rhetoric as the lyrics ponder sarcastically "Who'll pay the bills when we give ourselves a break?".
Rarely does "Plumb" feel as powerful or as grandly stated as "Field Music (Measure)", and in terms of that it may be a bit of a disappointment. Nevertheless, it's a fully enjoyable exercise in diversity, musical intelligence and anger, and certainly doesn't doubt the Brewis' ability to churn out an album that will keep them relevant for a while to come yet.
Download: 1) Choosing Sides, 2) A New Town, 3) Who'll Pay The Bills?
For Fans Of: ELO, Genesis, XTC