Album Review: Field Music – Commontime

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Having never before heard of Field Music, I was apprehensive about their latest release, a sensation compounded by the screams which introduce the first track. These worries were soon quelled by its joyfully repetitive, dancey, upbeat hook and soft, soothing, audibly Northern vocals, delivering lyrics such as “We’re all getting on / something’s gonna get us before too long,” which any student can relate to.

The sax adds another pleasantly surprising dimension, as do the song’s layered, tuneful melodies.

‘Disappointed’, an ode to the perils of love, is more mellow, but once again offers an addictive, distinctive bass line, and is marked out further by its unconventional vocal structures. The percussion really stood out on ‘I’m Glad’ and ‘Don’t You Want to Know’ which the drummer in me appreciated.

However, I’d skip ‘Trouble at the Lights’, ‘Indeed It Is’, which has strong overtones of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, and ‘That’s Close Enough for Now’, in which the incongruous use of the violin does nothing to rival the impact of the sax in ‘The Noisy Days Are Over’ – instead, it creates a grating effect, and the rest of the song swiftly degenerates into experimental, hissy, wankery.

Many of its tracks are needlessly drawn out and would be better off at half the length (or not existing at all), and, sadly, the album does start to peter off and lose its way after such a strong, fun start. Although the unexpected female backing vocals in ‘It’s a Good Thing’ go some way in repairing this, on a good day, Field Music sound like The Feeling at their poppy best, and on a bad one, like they’re drowning in their own pretension, unfortunately. Despite the album’s patchiness, it is clear that Field Music definitely know how to construct quirky, off-kilter pop songs with great riffs, the best of which (even if there are only a couple,) should incite immediate, Dobby-esque dancing.

[Alice Crook]

 

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