In a field of their own…
Field Music are often seen as paragons of accretion, who meticulously forge baroque music. On Flat White Moon, however, they deliver a newly compressed version of their contagious sound.
Discussing influences on their podcast Field Musicast, they reveal that their vivid wordplay is influenced by Joni Mitchell and Dire Straits. There’s also the unexpected reveal that the pukka pub rock of Status Quo is part of the FM tapestry. It all makes odd sense.
Their waggish humour often gets glossed over. On ‘Orion From The Street’, the Brothers Brewis – David and Peter – transpose the free verse of Blonde On Blonde to Tyneside argot. Their dissection of Zeppelin’s James Brown tribute ‘The Crunge’ – wherein Jimmy Page just about captured Jimmy Nolen’s chicken scratching guitar, making it his own in the process – is as revealing as it is erudite. Meanwhile, they joke that the complex piano riff on ‘Not When You’re In Love’ is basically ‘Chopsticks’. But only boffins can be so self-debasing.
This record may be as harmonically conservative as Field Music get, but that paradoxically allows the chaos in – think The Beatles of ‘It’s All Too Much’. Leaning more to performance than perfection, personality bubbles: ‘In This City’ is a case in point. However, this is Field Music. Even at their most pared-back, their songs are still beautifully entangled, as ‘Invisible Days’ and ‘Out Of The Frame’ illustrate. ‘No Pressure’ is a homage to the Bowie/Queen song; as FM state it, they do genre pieces, only to fail and create something else.
The outcome? Flat White Moon is great: a record to whirl and whoop to.