Over the course of two albums and a clutch of B-sides, Field Music made the most intelligent and enjoyable post-punk-pop music to surface in recent years. When the Sunderland, UK, band decided to go on hiatus last year, many were baffled by what seemed to be a prematurely short lifespan. Guitarist/drummer David Brewis, who founded Field Music with his brother Peter, explains, "Nobody's saying we're not going to do a Field Music record—we're just saying this wouldn't be a very good time to do one, because that's not the best way of getting our ideas out at the moment. People seem quite excited that there's going to be lots of other things going on."
Indeed, David Brewis has already embarked on a solo project under the name School of Language, and his Sea from Shore is so good that any lingering disappointment over Field Music's hiatus will be instantly jettisoned when one listens to the first track, "Rockist Part 1," the first in a group of songs based around an a cappella loop of vowel sounds. The "Rockist" quartet first builds up then deconstructs a wall of perfect, intellectual pop, with fits, starts, jerks, and turnarounds giving shape to the melodies and muscular guitar lines. An easy point of reference is friends and fellow Sunderlanders the Futureheads, as filtered through the mad-tea-party of XTC, but in truth Brewis has created something uniquely enjoyable.
Brewis, who played almost every part on the album, says, "When I'm writing a song, I tend to have most of the arrangements in my head from very early on in the process, so explaining to somebody what I wanted them to do—fairly exactly—seems like a bad way to do a collaborative record. It's probably quicker and less disingenuous just to try and figure out how to do it myself."
For live shows, however, School of Language is a three-piece, and Brewis has managed to avoid the pitfalls of what made his previous band frustrating in a live setting. "I suppose with Field Music, the live thing was so arranged. I can't think of a way we could've done that better, really, because it was just complicated stuff. But I'm keen at the moment not to do things like that. I'm really enjoying being the guitar player in this band."
Visit endhits.portlandmercury.com for the full interview with David Brewis.