Field Music (Measure)
[Rating: 4 stars]
Field Music hasn’t released an album since 2007. Three years ago the Sunderland, England-based group put out Tones of Town to critical acclaim, only to announce a few months later that the band was taking an extended hiatus. 2010 marks the return of David and Peter Brewis’ brand of well-orchestrated prog-pop. In a day and age when numerous artists resort to lo-fi musical stylings, it’s refreshing to hear an album like Field Music (Measure). Consisting of 18 thoughtfully constructed songs, Field Music’s return harkens back to the proggy flourishes of the 70s. Intricate layers of instrumentation highlight songs like “Them That Do Nothing,” three minutes of hand clapping, harmonizing musical infatuation. Complex rhythms and calculated breakdowns run throughout (Measure). Take a three-song movement towards the middle of the album for example. Field Music charges along in a modern funk rock fury at one moment (“Let’s Write A Book”), while slowing to a peaceful, string-laden lull (“You and I”) the next. The band then effortlessly breaks back into a piano-driven epic that might not have been out of place on Sheer Heart Attack. If there is one complaint, it’s that the grandiosity of these 18 songs can at times seem over the top. However, there is something so masterful about Field Music’s approach that you can’t help but applaud the band for the scope and imagination of Field Music (Measure).