If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few weeks, you may recall a post I wrote about the Sunderland, UK-based duo Field Music. Comprised of its creative masterminds, sibling duo Peter and David Brewis and featuring the contributions of Kev Dosdale, Andrew Lowther, Ian Black, Liz Corney, Andrew Moore, Damo Waters and a rotating casts of collaborators, the Brewis Brothers have developed an internationally recognized profile for a for a sound comprised of interwoven vocals, slightly off chords and chord changes, a slightly off-kilter yet approachable experimental pop sensibility — and for material based around incredibly catchy choruses.
Over the past few years, Field Music has been on hiatus as the Brewises were busy with a variety of side projects. But they found themselves inevitably drawn back to working together on their own songs. 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.
Reportedly, the album’s material is reportedly based around the passing of time — acquaintances coming and going, friendships drifting and diffusing over time, random snippets of the every day and real-life conversations being replayed. In fact, Commontime’s first single “The Noisy Days Are Over,” was based on a conversation between two friends who are struggling to say goodbye to their boozy, hard-partying youthful days. Sonically, the song paired funky guitar chords, propulsive percussion, dramatic keyboard chords and the Brewis brothers’ ironic yet wistful vocals with warm and soulful blasts of saxophone and strings in a song that reminds me both of Superhuman Happiness‘ Escape Velocity (in particular, I think of “Drawing Lines” and “Super 8“) and of Talking Heads as all three are eccentric and expansive visions of what you can do with pop — while being approachable.
Commontime‘s latest single “Disappointed” begins with a David Bowie-like introduction of shimmering and soulful guitars and gentle drumming before turning into a bit of off-kilter funk with propulsive and hard hitting drums, a sinuous bass line, the Brewis Brothers’ ironically detached and yet wistful vocals, gorgeous piano keys and angular guitar chords; sonically, the song sounds as though the Brewis Brothers were drawing from fellow Englishman Tom Vek. Lyrically, the song focuses on an ambivalent and confusing relationship in which disappointment is bound to happen. Of course, interestingly enough, the song also suggests that disappointment may be part of the human condition; that all relationships have their disappointments — and it’s okay.