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FIELD MUSIC |
Tones of Town
"Working to Work"
"Closer at Hand"
Talk about underrated. Here's a band, Field Music, that writes songs you actually
need to know more than four-power chords on a beat up Stratocaster to pull off.
And sure, I'm the last guy to go around waving the "virtuosity=quality" flag,
but I can't help but think of technique as the ultimate in indie rock gate-keeping.
Here's to quality control. I have no doubt the absolute monstrous glut of music
that inevitably will invade dollar bins this year could've been spared such a
shameful demise, if only it were a little more difficult to learn C to D to G
on guitar. Following, in this spotty landscape, when a band is actually capable
of marrying some sort of learned musicianship, with memorable hooks, a fine concept,
and maybe a tune or two that could theoretically win over a dancefloor (or at
least a living room), then you've got something to talk about.
Field Music's sophomore jam, Tones of Town, is something to talk about.
Continuing in the path the British trio's self-titled '05 release, Town
is brimming with XTC-approved hooks (though, this time there's a big inexplicable
debt to George Harrison-style guitar solos - esp. on the single, "A House Is Not
a Home"), all run through the post-whatever blender -- a little sweaty, Gang of
Four tempo switch up here, some Ric Ocasek keyboards there. An explosive Carl
Newman-cribbing chorus, the opener "Give It, Lose It, Take It," even manages to
successfully throw Terry Riley into the mix. That said, the star of the whole
show comes 9 tracks in - "Closer At Hand" is all '70s piano power ballad, c86-tunefulness,
and choppy angular guitar chords. It's also got some serious cowbell playing.
Is there another band out there able to merge so much of the pop music canon,
while still sounding entirely all there own? Maybe. But, nobody does it as consistent
as Field Music. 2 for 2. [HG]
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