After the extravagant sprawl of 2010′s double album ‘Measure‘, ‘Plumb‘ lasts for half the time, despite seeming to contain at least as many ideas and melodies across its thirty-five minute run time. Mere moments after tracks have got going they segue effortlessly into others, and while not as safe as Sir Thumbsaloft can sometimes be, it evokes at times the creative schizophrenia of early McCartney solo albums. ‘Choosing Sides‘, itself several songs in one, wails pleadingly: “I want a different idea of love which doesn’t involve treating somebody else like shit,” while ‘A Prelude To Pilgrim Street’ has a glorious drum workout, accompanied by Who-esque shimmering keys, which offers an affectionate nod to Keith Moon.
‘Plumb‘ cements Field Music’s reputation for truly magnificently crafted classic pop-rock, with an unashamed love of the grandiose soundscapes of the Seventies and a taste for adorning songs with neatly selected sounds from real life. The highly strung plastic-funk of ‘Is This The Picture?‘, all runaway drums and falsetto screech, serves an unlikely precursor to the string-laden, percussive swoon of ‘From Hide And Seek To Heartache‘. This paves the way for the a cappella burst of ‘How Many More Times?’ and near-instrumental orchestral flourish ‘Ce Soir‘. The simple fact is, every song here could merit a special mention and the forensic attention to detail sets standards very high.
‘Plumb‘ genuinely doesn’t sound like anything else in their catalogue, partly because it doesn’t even sound like itself for more than a few songs at a time. An exhilarating and ambitious collection, it should have brought Field Music a deservedly larger audience and, while the Mercury nomination cast a spotlight in their general direction, the nation’s failure to take the Brewis brothers to its heart continues to baffle me. Despite this, those in the know can’t help but adore them, leading to forthcoming vinyl outings for their early releases and promoting a rapturous response for their Saturday night set at Green Man in August. They are quite remarkable musicians doing so much on such a small scale and ‘Plumb‘ is their masterwork.