You might recall the Sunderland, England trio Field Music from their great self-titled album last year. Songwriting brothers Peter and David Brewis along with keyboardist Andrew Moore are back with their sophomore effort, Tones Of Town, and damn it is good!
Although they haven't drifted from their pop sounds that made them so appealing in the first place, they did expand and refine their piano & strings formula to help take their music up a notch. The songs are tighter and somehow even catchier than their debut, obvious even from the opening moments of track one, "Give It, Lose It, Take It."
The first forty seconds reminded me of the marimba-sounding keyboard loops of Peter Gabriel's classic "San Jacinto," which leads us to some Beatles-inspired pop greatness. One thing I love about Field Music is that their songs never sound forced. When the strings sneak in towards the end of the track, it is impossible to resist the charm of these guys.
The '70s piano-led "A House Is Not A Home" is the perfect example as to why this trio is so great. The song is light and somewhat simple, with just enough instrumentation to carry along the melody. Fans of XTC and Belle & Sebastian will eat this up. The trio isn't afraid to experiment with different sounds, such as on "In Context." A little production wizardry adds some cool sounds to the drums, with a chorus filled with lush strings and perfect vocal harmonies.
Another pop gem is "Closer At Hand," adding in a bit more guitar as this one effortless floats along. This trio makes it seem so easy to create the perfect pop song, putting the emphasis back on memorable melodies and intelligent lyrics. No shtick, just solid, sunny tunes that will appeal to a broad range of music lovers.
Field Music's latest is a clever, intriguing pop album that will remain in frequent rotation here for quite some time.