Field Music have spent over a decade breathing colour and cleverness into British indie music. As a creative pairing, the Brewis brothers have quietly courted critical acclaim (despite meagre commercial success). They have made a career of stirring funk riffs and art rock twists into a genre that would be scarcely recognisable without their influence. With the release of their seventh album Commontime, the duo remain as unapologetically Northern and unconventional as ever. In the final assessment, they’ve also never been more deserving of attention from mainstream audiences.
Their album’s breakout hit ‘The Noisy Days Are Over’ speaks to the past ‘it’ friend who still stubbornly clings to the clichés of youth. But its message of urging close ones into old age is somewhat at odds with the song itself. Bouncy, spry and packed with a funk that winds from saxophone interludes to a taut bassline – this is the sound of ageing gracefully. It lends credence to the idea that the Sunderland-born siblings are only getting better with age.
The progression from ‘That’s Close Enough For Now’ is airy acoustics to ‘But Not For You’ is chirpy 80s pop send-up charts the stylistic range of this work. The gulf between the bluesy opening to ‘Disappointment’ and the soaring string-borne tenderness on ‘The Morning Is Waiting For You’ plots the emotional breadth of the album. The ultimate product is eclectic and richly satisfying, even though the portions are perhaps greater than is necessary to sustain the interest of most listeners.
Overlong and ponderous, Field Music would do well to be more ruthless in the editing phase in future. But this is one act that has always delighted in following each creative kink down the full length of its respective rabbit hole, and Commontime has more than its fair share of wonders for those with the patience to listen.