field report no.032616

SUBJECT: Field Music

Between their 2nd and 3rd LPs, Field Music took a short hiatus to work on solo(ish) projects. It was around that time they grew to be one of my favorite pop outfits going. They pair a clarity of vision with musical acumen. While they nod to XTC and early Peter Gabriel. They temper their prog-ish tendencies with Beach Boys' Pet Sounds leanings—which they spike with a plaintive melancholy. In sum, they sound as modern as they do historically rooted.

Live, they're stunning. Playing songs with intricate rhythms and tricky changes, all whilst singing in 4-part harmony. The arrangements are cleverly simplified, now so punchy they never feel lesser than their intricate studio-constructed counterparts. They've got hooks to spare but at the heart of their songs lies a peculiar British pragmatism. Their catchiest songs include lines like "Why don't you take the bus like everybody else," and "We tried to stand for nothing, now there's nothing to stand for." They're the sort of turns of phrase that would fit neatly on any song from Pet Shop Boys' disenchanted classic Behavior.

Their Britishness was apparently a clarion call for all UK ex-pats in North Brooklyn, who celebrated the occasion as if it were St. Patrick's Day all over again. The inebriation levels and rowdiness of the crowd was directly inverse to the cheery politeness of the soft-spoken, arty chamber-pop band. Despite our needing to move several times to avoid obnoxious and/or nauseous members of the audience, it was quite an enjoyable show.

Unfortunately, the opening band the Effects, are best left unmentioned. They are deft players to be sure, but without any force of personality to front their skill, it just sounds like warmed-over emo-math-rock leftovers from the 90s.

NOTES: Field Music; The Effects