Sunderland, UK's Field Music have returned with Open Here after a brief two years; it's a lush, well-orchestrated affair that finds Peter and David Brewis speaking cleverly and honestly about personal and wide-ranging issues. "Is sympathy too serious a thing to take seriously?" Peter asks, before asserting that there is "nothing else so deep as time and joy," over playful beats, crisp guitars and lilting flute lines. The band have referred to this record as defiant — using positivity in their music while facing adversity — and one can hear this through the album's experimentation, range of instrumentation and major key melodies.
However, Field Music aren't shying away from direct criticism of current attitudes: David has penned the unlikely jam "Count It Up," all about privilege, as well as "Goodbye to the Country," which features the wonderfully vitriolic lyrics: "Don't you worry I will be fine with the knife at my neck and my very last dime / I got a job in an office block with the swish canteen and an oxbridge tie." Musically, the band have crafted songs that make use of a tight rhythm section and expressive guitar, as well as fuller numbers, complete with saxophone, trumpet, strings and flute.
The brothers' knack for harmonies remains, as heard in the cascading vocals of "Checking on a Message," and an instrumental outro on "No King No Princess," which glides the song to a close. It's welcome to hear these quiet moments on an album that sometimes feels bursting with rhythmic interplay. The restraint heard in the calm and gentle drums of "Cameraman" leads into "Daylight Saving," where vocals, saxophone and strings create a melancholy that is ultimately resolved by its final major chord.
"Find a Way To Keep Me" provides a larger-than-life closer to the album, with a euphoria to it — a choir, strings and trumpet elevate the song into a genuinely optimistic realm. Field Music have created a truly immersive record with Open Here, one that is welcoming, conversational and oh-so-necessary for a world experiencing daily fear and paranoia. (Memphis Industries)