If Field Music had decided to follow the musical trends from the scene of North East England, the group's self-titled debut album should be filled with the angularity of that area's current music scene. This trio opted to go a different musical route, making for some of the best piano and sunny harmony driven pop you will hear this year. The core members of Field Music, Andrew Moore and brothers Peter & David Brewis, have an interesting music family tree. With former and current members of The Futureheads and Maximo Park, the band is a pseudo-super group of sorts. Embracing the lush harmonies of the Beatles and the Beach Boys, they have offered up a delicious collection of sugary pop songs that look back to the first British Invasion for inspiration.
The album begins with "If Only The Moon Were Up", fusing a Kinks-flavored guitar lick with the harmonies of the brothers Brewis. The song bounces along with the accompaniment of piano and a horn section. Handclaps, delicate percussion and cool mixed time signatures are found throughout "Tell Me Keep Me". Field Music slows it down a bit with "It's Not The Only Way To Be Happy", offering up a wandering keyboard line and melodica. This also happens to be one of the very few tunes on the record that crosses the four-minute mark.
The further you get into the album, the more you hear the Beatles in Field Music's songwriting. Not that this is a bad thing, but it is impossible to ignore the McCartney-ish songwriting and Harrison guitar moments on "Pieces." Stepping away from the pop for a few moments, the trio explores their psychedelic side on "Got To Get The Nerve", based around a repetitive musical pulse that only pauses while the song title is whispered as the chorus. Even during the album's slightly more ambitious tracks, the band never lets up their focus on writing beautiful, clean melodies.
The domestic release of this gem of a record contains a handful of bonus tracks, including my personal favorite "You're Not Supposed To." The piano takes a bit more of the spotlight, surrounded by horns, strings and more of their amazing vocal harmonies. Fans of great pop from the Beatles and Blur to Belle & Sebastian should find themselves with Field Music's album as one of their favorites of the year. It is definitely one of mine.