Field Music Tones of Town

Field Music Tones of Town
Photo: Dominik Gigler
Without any of the UK press buzz or tabloid scandals boosting their career, Sunderland’s Field Music have relied on writing some of the brainiest pop music to garner attention over the last few years. Such drastic measures are rare for a band that live in a climate so obsessed with suffocating good music with hype, but this trio are proving there is another way. Their 2005 self-titled debut was a magnificent discovery that underlined their unique knack for complex arrangements and gifted harmonies. But it’s their second full-length that will be the one to earn this band the platitudes they so deserve. In short, Tones of Town is a perfect pop record. It has everything going for it that would warrant such a title: subtly inserted strings (a first for a British band), enticing split-second transitions and a reliably chipper mentality that never fails to provide a sensation of joy. Perhaps the most understated facet to this band is their willingness to experiment: "Sit Tight” integrates beat boxing without a reason to be embarrassed and "In Context” ends with a fabulous bass solo, of all things. With such sharp gambits and overflowing ambition, Field Music have the goods to become not just one of Britain’s best but one of the world’s.

What made you attempt beat boxing on "Sit Tight”? Technically Field Music shouldn’t be allowed to get away with that. Drummer Peter Brewis: I think it was Dave [Brewis, vocalist/guitar] who had heard about that Björk album where she’d done it all with voices [Medúlla], so he was really intrigued. But when he heard it he was a bit disappointed that the voices were made to sound like different instruments rather than actual vocal sounds. So he basically programmed lots of obvious vocals into our drum machine and that was that. We basically didn’t say no to anything on this album. It was like, "Yeah, that’s a good idea, let’s do it!” I know it sounds a little self-indulgent but if you’re going to indulge anyone it might as well be yourself because you’re making music and it should be fun.

According to scummy UK tabloid News of the World you started a dance craze? We had a funny little dance in one of our videos that ripped off Prince in "Raspberry Beret” and transported it to Sunderland. It caught on for about three days when all of me friends were rehearsing it. I don’t know if it was a joke, but the guy who does the music editing basically decided that he was going to create a dance craze. (Memphis Industries)