Live Footage: Field Music on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic

Comprised of its creative masterminds, sibling duo Peter and David Brewis and featuring the contributions Kev Dosdale, Andrew Lowther, Ian Black, Liz Corney, Andrew Moore, Damo Waters and a rotating cast of collaborators, Sunderland, UK-based indie electro pop act Field Music have developed an internationally recognized profile for a for a unique and off kilter-pop of complex and interwoven harmonies, odd chord-progressions and a quirkily experimental yet approachable pop sensibility paired around infectiously catchy hooks and choruses reminiscent of Talking Heads, Wire, King Crimson and contemporary acts like Superhuman Happiness and others. Over the past three or years or so, Field Music had been on a hiatus as the Brewis Brothers were busy with a variety of side projects and other creative projects, but they inevitably found themselves drawn to working together on original material. As David Brewis explained in press notes, “As much fun as we might have had on our own or collaborating, we missed just spending time in the studio, the two of us, trying things out and playing together.” Interestingly, Commontime, the first Field Music album in several years was written and recorded over spontaneous bursts over a six month period in their Wearside, UK-based studio. And the material the Brewis Brothers wrote was focused around them playing and singing — while featuring contributions from original keyboardist Andrew Moore, Peter Brewis’ wife Jennie Brewis, vocals from the newest member of the touring band, Liz Corney and a variety of other collaborators. “We wanted to embrace being a duo, and perversely, that made us feel more comfortable about all of those conspicuous cameos,” David Brewis notes.

The Brewis Brothers along with their touring band were recently on KCRW‘s Morning Becomes Eclectic to play songs off Commontime, including a loose, Steely Dan-like rendition of “The Noisy Days Are Over,” a song based on a conversation between two friends, who are struggling to say goodbye to their boozy, hard-partying youth — and as the Brewis Brothers admit in this session is at least partially influenced by their recent experiences as family men with young children. They also play a very loose version of “Disappointed,” one of my favorite songs off the album, a song that normally has the act pairing the Brewis Brothers’ ironically detached and yet wistful vocals, gorgeous piano keys and angular guitar chords in a song that sounds as though it were channeling Tom Vek — while lyrically the song focuses on what appears to be an ambivalent and confusing relationship in which disappointment is bound to happen; in fact, it suggests that disappointment is generally part of almost all relationships — and that’s okay. And that shouldn’t be surprising as generally the material on Commontime is reportedly centered on the passing of time, and as a result the material focuses on acquaintances coming and going, friendships drifting and diffusing over time, relationships starting, becoming confusing and ending, and so on.

The interview section is pretty fascinating as the Brewis Brothers talk about their influences and their creative process with a self-effacing candidness that’s refreshing while giving the listener and viewer an insider’s view on their collaboration together. (I should note that WordPress is a bit funny with non-Vimeo and non-YouTube videos, so click on the link and check it out. I think it’s worth the 45 minutes of your time.)