Album Review Field Music - Field Music (Measure)

Easily recognisable as one of 2010’s great albums.

There’s an old belief that music should take no longer to review than it does to listen to. If we went by that then we’d have an entire 72 minuets to tell you exactly how ace we think the Field Music album is. Said length and the fact that it’s a double might well make you think one of two things; first that it’s some sort of horrendous prog travesty, second that there’s going to be more than one or two tracks of filler. We’re happy to report that you’d be wrong on both counts. Each of the 20 tracks on ‘Field Music (Measure)’ (sub-titled to prevent confusion with their début) is capable of holding its own and is deserving of inclusion on this collection. Still, it’s not hard to argue that had Field Music exercised restraint we’d have something that was easily recognisable as one of 2010’s great albums.

Previous Field Music accomplishments have focused on a dismantling of pop music, using vocal harmonies, pianos and string sections aplenty. Whilst these are still present on occasion, it’s easier to see a more classic rock influence in their work with moments that recall Fleetwood Mac and Paul McCartney, albeit trough a contemporary art-pop filter. Despite these obvious touchstones the group never venture into self-indulgent territories; there’s no needless guitar solos or bombast. It’s as though they’ve taken their influences apart, like they were nothing more than Lego, and had them reassembled into to something with Field Music’s obvious signature on.

In all honesty picking out highlights for the sake of a review is an artificial process when it comes to an album as brilliant as ‘Field Music (Measure)’. Yet, pick out we must.

Cleanly sounding and cerebral, ‘Them That Do Nothing’ is a wise choice for a single from (Measure), having the album’s biggest hook. The placement of such a track early on disc one is also advantageous, drawing in the listener. Mirroring it is the same disc’s penultimate track is ‘Let’s Write A Book’, which in its bluesy influence has become a quick favourite and perhaps even a future single. Elsewhere it’s the guitar work that really catches the ear, showcasing Field Music’s current rockier slant. Take the intro of the excellent ‘In The Mirror’ as a way of opening a record. To these ears it’s the best sounding guitar section on a record that’s not wanting for such.

Contrapuntal to the records jump-start is the 10 minute long closer of disc 2, ‘It’s About Time’. Bringing us to a gentle halt slowly petering out with strings and piano intersected by field recordings, it reflects back on earlier themes present on the same disc and presents perhaps the only unifying motif on the record. If we were to be critical it’s the lack of unity across this collection that makes for a more difficult listen; still, that it is separated onto two discs when its length could be fit onto one is of benefit to the listener. In breaking up the recording it’s much easier to absorb and also means that we can take two lots of 35 minuets to tell you how great ‘(Measure)’ is.


Tags: Field Music, Album Reviews, Reviews

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