x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Field Music's Plumb: A record without a dull moment

The band's fourth album sees them ploughing through innumerable time signatures, but with a lightness of touch that makes it seem splendidly effortless.

Plumb
Memphis Industries
****

With their wonky rhythms and songs that rarely broke the three-minute mark, it was hardly a surprise that Field Music were considered part of the post-punk revival when they debuted in 2005.

But while most of their contemporaries clamoured to mine the oeuvres of Talking Heads and Gang of Four, the British band combined abrasive sounds with a keen melodic sense, more akin to The Beatles or Beach Boys' output.

Field Music's fourth album sees them again ploughing through innumerable time signatures, but with a lightness of touch that makes the whole thing seem splendidly effortless. From funk numbers Who'll Pay The Bills? and A New Town to the harmony-drenched Choosing Sides and How Many More Times, few groups are this adept at leapfrogging styles.

At just 35 minutes in length, this is a far more restrained effort than its (70 minutes-plus) predecessor, Measure. The songs also show remarkable emotional restraint, particularly the album's centrepiece, the gorgeous Brian Wilson-inspired So Long Then.

While the record is without a dull moment, there's nothing as instantly memorable as fan favourites In Context or Effortlessly. That is, until you reach final track I Keep Thinking About a New Thing - bizarrely, the album's foremost stomper. Despite being littered with as many unconventional choices as unconventional sounds, Plumb is a refined and mature work. Perhaps these contradictions are what helped keep Field Music around, while so many other post-punk revivalists have fallen by the wayside.

Follow us on Twitter and keep up to date with the latest in arts and lifestyle news at twitter.com/LifeNationalUAE