As Field Music the Brewis brothers make clever record-collection pop. You spot the myriad influences, all correct, wise, accounted for – McCartney this, Talking Heads that. Bits of Devo’s post-punk world floating in and around the Peter Gabriel conception of pop-as-art/art-as-pop – and here David Brewis returns to his solo moniker to create an album that stands up alongside the Field Music work. He made his first School of Language album in 2008 after two sharp, smart Field Music albums. Then there were two more sharp, smart Field Music albums and now he’s back to the School, continuing to fire out ever-so-slightly-agitated power-pop with an impeccable indie pedigree.
So here’s Brewis playing almost everything and making this music that has hints of David Byrne’s studied nervousness, little breathes of the Depeche Mode/Devo/XTC worlds and yet it could (and should) totally appeal to a thoroughly modern audience; to James Blake fans, to Bon Iver fans, to people wishing – somehow, for some reason – that The Strokes might morph into a really good, necessary band.
There’s urgency in Brewis’ work here and with Field Music. Songs like Between The Suburbs are instantly likeable but they never bend over, never beg you to like them. They’re just great, classy little numbers.
Here there’s not a dud. A Prince-esque song-sliver one minute (Dress Up), a throwback to New Romantic-era balladry the next (Moment of Doubt) – and in just 35 minutes, the small worlds created here stand like shining monuments, all in tribute to the power of a clever (great) pop song.