Field Music Tones of Town

[Memphis Industries; 2007]

Styles: post-punk, new wave, indie rock
Others: The Futureheads, XTC, Squeeze

Following up their criminally underheard (at least on this side of the Atlantic) debut album, Field Music turn in a tight, brilliant set of songs on Tones of Town. Exhibiting a maturity beyond their years, both the writing and production (both solely credited to the band) are expertly restrained with never a hook nor a riff overplayed. This is an album that is destined for the repeat function of music players the world 'round.

If one notices a similarity to fellow Sunderlandians The Futureheads and Maximo Park, this is no accident, as they are all rather well acquainted, with drummer/vocalist Peter Brewis having served in the original incarnation of The Futureheads. Though related through insistent post-punk angularity and energy, Field Music may well prove to be the most substantive of the cohort. Peter and his brother David are considerable talents, turning in one great song after another, with nary a repetition in sound.

After a tinkling intro, "Give It Lose It Take It" opens up with precision, muscle, and exuberance, instantly establishing a quirky pop sensibility. The pastoral elegance of "Kingston" manifests in delicate vocal harmonies abetted by a subtle arrangement of strings. The refined piano pop of "A Gap Has Appeared" melds beautifully, via Beach Boys-inspired vocal harmony coda, into the more rockin' "Closer at Hand." But for me, the jewel of the album is "Working to Work," which perfectly captures in sonic form the stresses of being a young person attempting to navigate her/his position in the postindustrial workforce.

The more I listen to Tones of Town, the more I can't get it out of my head. Its infectiousness is its blessing and its curse. If only I can hear these songs live, I might get to feel some sense of satisfaction and completion. So, if you need me, I'll be rocking in the corner quietly with my headphones waiting for the announcement of some U.S. tourdates.

Most Read