Field Music Debut LP (Turns 1) August 9, 2006Posted by reidmix in Album Reviews, Free MP3, Labels, Memphis Industries, Music, Reviews.
Tags: allmusic, birthday, emusic, glockenspiel, harmonica, lyrics, maraca, pop, saxophone, tower, twee
According to Field Music’s website, their eponymous debut LP was released on August 8th of last year, which means the album turns 1 today. Not that I bought the album year ago, I discovered it early 2006.
I put Field Music in my “Save for later” list was when it was first recommended by eMusic. I liked the band name and cover (so much for don’t judge a book by yadda yadda. I judged lesbians and lacrosse: so I was wrong). I bookmarked it when I noticed they came from Memphis Industries, the label that brought us that endearing, lo-fi cheersquad, the Go! Team. When eMusic offered 2 free samplers — It Came from Memphis 1 and 2 — I finally listened to the charm that is Field Music.
Allmusic gives us a more detailed biography, but interestingly Field Music is comprised of Andrew Moore and brothers David and Peter Brewis — the latter sibling a founding member of the Futureheads. I picked up the extended release from Tower and it’s sweet, sweet candy that I keep coming back to soothe my sweet tooth.
The album begins simply with rhythmic guitars and drums, they drive every song on the LP. Each song has its own signature by layering unique instruments such as maracas, bells, glockenspiels, saxophones, and harmonicas. The first song, “If Only the Moon Were Up,” continues simply but hooks you with the first chorus and its enigmatic lyrics, “Taking apart the dark / The talk is all gone / Taking apart the dark the moon is on.”
But it’s “Tell Me, Keep Me” and its falsettos and harmonies that keep me hooked like heroine. The simplicity of these songs is misleading and I find that I’m grasping for the melody when I wake up in the morning and need to queue up a song like “Tell Me, Keep Me” to pin it down.
The middle of the album unfolds like a story — it feels like a concept album but no specific concept comes to mind. We move to “Shorter, Shorter” [mp3] which explains “Shorter shorter /
No time to spare / We will soon disappear / But you can never be sure”. The even the chord changes imply that there’s a story to be told, with Beatle-esque guitar lines and string instruments playing minor roles.
As we approach the the last songs we hit a pop gem “You Can Decide” [mp3]. “Time is getting faster now / Time you should speak / Make up your mind,” is the urgent answer to the question put forth by the earlier songs — like a bookend to “Shorter, Shorter” the song pushes “Faster, Faster”. Musically, the song is urgent with clapping, a sharp melody, and a repeating (piano?) note that drives through most of the song.
The last three songs are definitely a set, even if I do clump songs in threes. “Got to Get the Nerve” is the desperation after the decisions made; the more upbeat “Got to Write a Letter” is the relief when action is taken; and “You’re So Pretty…” [mp3] is the message. Engaging in the progression of song, I feel like I also am confessing my infatuation.
The extended album includes “You’re Not Supposed To” a could-be tribute to Bartleby the Scrivener, which is also packaged as an adorable music video on the CD-ROM portion of the album. “I’m Tired” [mp3] closes out the album leaving me wanting more and forcing me to put the album on repeat.
Field Music reminds me of True Love Always at their best with their album When Will You Be Mine. Whereas, Field Music’s execution less whimsical and meandering but (thankfully) just as precious with a stonger focus.
I hope for good things to come with future releases and have their new release of B-sides, Write Your Own History, to tide me over until then.
Here are the albums:
And the mp3s (again) available from Memphis Industries: