Field Music - Field Music Play...
Field Music, regardless of their continuous under-the-radar status for a group with 4 albums (6 to those who include The Week That Was and School Of Language under the Field Music umbrella) since 2004, are a band who, by their cult fanbase's standards, just don't stop getting better. So at last their tenure as one of the most under-recognised and under-rated groups of the last decade looks to be coming to an end - the shortlisting of this year's opus, Plumb, in the Mercury Prize Albums of the Year finally signals a long deserved nod from more mainstream powers that be.
As we await what lies ahead, we've been teased with a delightful compilation of covers, entitled Field Music Play.... And despite it being a covers album it's not simply a hastily thrown together cash-in; each track has been thoughtfully rearranged rather than lazily copied and the finished product is in some parts on a par for creativity with any of their original albums.
The opening cover, Syd Barrett's 'Terrapin', is far removed from the melancholy original, but aside from the clean production it doesn't feel like Field Music either. A rock n' roll bash featuring loose crashing drums and screeching guitars, it's easier to draw comparisons with late-60s The Who than Barrett & Pink Floyd. Robert Wyatt's 'Born Again Cretin' is among the more faithful covers, as well as the two Pet Shop Boys numbers, 'Heart' and 'Rent'. They're likable indie takes and in the lower, spoken sections the Brewis brothers sound remarkably similar to Neil Tennant (albeit with an endearing North-Eastern tinge).
Though the most interesting song on the album for me is The Beatles' 'Don't Pass Me By', one of Ringo's ditties from The White Album. It's dark and sits poles apart from the bouncy original that was certainly fit for a Thomas the Tank Engine narrator, but manages to also become a medley of homages to other Beatles songs. The chorus cleverly morphs into a pastiche of 'Don't Let Me Down', while the outro carries shades of 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da'. Elsewhere Leonard Cohen's 'Suzanne' is beefed up with mellow drums, bringing sedate folk-rock vibes to the table.
Overall the compilation is as much an exploration of ideas as it is a small nugget of entertainment for their loyal fans. These are sounds we haven't really heard from Field Music before - it may not set the world on fire but it's a more than enough of a pleasant morsel to keep fans happy for now.
Purchase and listen
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Earlier this year Peter Brewis created an album of which there is only one version. He called it, unsurprisingly, One Copy. It’s now sealed inside a record player in Sale's Lauriston Gallery. Intended as a comment on how people share and experience recorded music in the digital age, it was a way of making people think about how much they to value music. [read more]
Label: Memphis Industries Release Date: 8/02/10 Website: Official Site From the first beat of Field Musicâs single 'Them That Do Nothing', the bandâs intent is clear. 4-beats-to-the-bar folk-rock may have been done before, but there should always be room for music that retreads old ground with flair. To an extent, this single, from album Measure, does just that. There is a hint of Billy Bragg or The Levellers in the wistful lyrics: âWe tried to stand for nothing, now thereâs ... [read more]
Memphis Industries last week entered the terrible teens, and celebrated their 13th birthday in style with a night of music at Koko, Camden. A few of the bands from the label performed at the event titled Lucky 13, and here are photographs of The Go! Team and Field Music from the night. [read more]