What do you do when the music you love has become the most shallow, nostalgic, corporate thing imaginable, when the kind of angular guitar pop that once seemed like part of the solution has become the biggest problem around, the sort of thing advertisers use to sell mobile phones and hair gel, the sort of thing more likely to soundtrack Hollyoaks than spark a thought in the minds of idealistic young people intent on breaking artistic boundaries and changing the world?
First arriving on the scene in 2004/2005 at the height of the ‘post-punk revival’ (a mostly rather disappointing and pointless retread of its late-‘70s, early-‘80s predecessor) Sunderland’s Field Music must have been aware of this quandary more than most. Purveyors of a laudable brand of Steely Dan-meets-XTC pop experimentalism, there was always a danger the point would be lost in the middle of a maelstrom of similar-sounding but inferior NME hype bands tripping over their Converse bootlaces and monochromatic Ian Curtis shirt-tie combos in a desperate rush to summon the ghost of 1979.
Faced with this potential tragedy of misinterpretation, and after having released a couple of not-quite-brilliant albums, the response of the hyper-talented Brewis brothers and keyboard player Andrew Moore was simple and ingenious. Realising that the traditional band format was a hackneyed and perhaps creatively restrictive entity at the zenith of the Rock Band™ era (and probably not the ideal framework for promulgating cerebral, progressive pop) the Field Music collective decided in 2008 to transform itself into just that: an art-pop collective that would use the FM identity as a foundation rather than an end in itself, a new kind of musical venture that would allow for the disparate ‘solo projects’ of its members, at the same time as the original line-up remained intact (though it would often be augmented by additional personnel). Read more »