Field Music – Open Here
Open Here is the seventh album from the Wearside brothers, and it continues their musical exploration, adding another gleaming jewel to their increasingly impressive canon
Left-field rock from the '70s and '80s still provides the clearest sonic blueprint for Field Music, though there are more string sections and baroque elements at play now, a heady dose of funk and even a tentative toe dipped into the ambient pool.
The band's studio space, overlooking the river Wear on a Sunderland industrial estate, has become a home away from home for the Brewis brothers. All of their albums have been recorded here since 2010's Field Music (Measure) but, after an eviction notice arrived in early 2017, they were spurred into action. And though the arrangements on the album are jam-packed with an intricate array of instruments and musicians, there is still a pervasive sense of urgency throughout.
Everything is up for grabs when it comes to lyrical content, from gender stereotypes and checking your privilege, to the tribulations of being a new parent (in a similar vein to Commontime), a critique of modern Britain and even a short lament to a departed friend (Front of House). Sometimes the message is a little on-the-nose (No King No Princess), but when the music is this bubbly and fun it's hard not to be won over (Count it Up, Share a Pillow).
The title track is a brilliant move into '60s chamber pop and helps set the scene for the grandiose closer, Find a Way To – the band's most resplendent moment yet, as horns and strings provide a ridiculously ostentatious orchestral finale. In lesser hands, it might come off as an overwrought and incongruous addendum, but the piccolo and flugelhorn, rolling funk and string quartet that have peppered the album demonstrate that the band aren't simply flirting with new directions, but wholeheartedly embracing them.
Listent to: Time in Joy, Count it Up, Open Here