About Field Music
Hailing from Sunderland, England, indie/art rockers Field Music emerged in the middle part of the 2000s with a distinctive blend of smartly crafted pop hooks and an ambitious nature that pulled from a variety of rock subgenres. Helmed by brothers Peter and David Brewis, the group earned critical acclaim and a devout fan base with albums like Tones of Town and their Mercury Prize-nominated 2012 set, Plumb. Their penchant for compositional and conceptual projects has led them to pursue unique projects like scoring a 1929 silent film and working with Britain's Imperial War Museum on a historical World War-themed piece that later became 2019's Making a New World album. They continued to expand their evocative, prog-influenced sound with 2021's Flat White Moon.
Formed in the early 2000s by the multi-instrumentalist Brewis siblings and occasional collaborator Andrew Moore, Field Music's colorful and hyper-musical blend of tricky pop melodies filtered through a post-rock-meets-prog-rock-meets-soft-rock aesthetic initially drew comparisons to the New Pornographers and fellow Sunderland band the Futureheads, but it was ultimately their own unique sound. Their self-titled debut was released in 2005 on Memphis Industries Records, followed in quick success for by the B-sides collection Write Your Own History (2006) and their second proper album, Tones of Town (2007). After this burst of activity, the brothers put Field Music on hiatus in order to start solo projects (School of Language for David, the Week That Was for Peter), though each brother played on the other's albums.
Regrouping again under the Field Music name, the duo released the ambitious 20-song double album Field Music (Measure) in early 2010. They didn't wait long before hitting the studio again, the result being 2012's elegantly arranged Plumb, which introduced elements of prog rock, synth pop, and funk into the mix and earned the band a Mercury Prize nomination. To promote it, the brothers also formed a touring edition of Field Music with Kev Dosdale and Ian Black. Once they finished with a slate of shows, the brothers Brewis went their semi-separate ways again, with David's School of Language releasing the 2014 album Old Fears and Peter working with Maxïmo Park's Paul Smith on an album, Frozen by Sight, that came out the same year.
Field Music's break was again short-lived, and in 2015 they released Music for Drifters, the soundtrack to a re-release of director John Grierson's landmark 1929 North Sea fishing documentary Drifters. That same year, the Brewis brothers joined bassist Black's group Slug to record their first album, Ripe, and started recording their next Field Music LP. Commontime, which drew inspiration from slick '80s pop like Hall & Oates, was released in early 2016 by longtime label Memphis Industries. Following the album's release, the band undertook their first tour of the U.K. in four years, while also taking a short detour to the U.S. They also worked with Warm Digits on the soundtrack for Esther Johnson's Asunder, a documentary that traced World War I's impact on North East England. The two groups, along with Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley, performed the score alongside a string ensemble at a 2017 screening at the Barbican Centre. Peter Brewis also appeared on Warm Digits' 2017 album Wireless World, providing vocals on one song. In addition, he appeared on, and helped produce, the Cornshed Sisters' 2017 album Honey & Tar.
By this time, the Brewis brothers were hard at work on the next Field Music album. Recording at their own studio on the banks of the River Wear, the brothers welcomed contributions from guests Sarah Hayes on flute and piccolo, the Cornshed Sisters' Liz Corney on vocals, Pete Fraser on saxophone, Simon Dennis on horns, and the band's usual string quartet of Ed Cross, Jo Montgomery, Chrissie Slater, and Ele Leckie. The resulting album, Open Here, was issued by Memphis Industries in February 2018. The group's next long-player, 2019's Making a New World, grew out of a project they undertook for the Imperial War Museum and is thematically centered around the period following the First World War. In 2021, they returned to a less conceptual, if no-less evocative, prog- and pop-influenced sound on Flat White Moon. ~ James Christopher Monger