School of Language Old Fears
Published Apr 07, 2014David Brewis has always been a busy man. In addition to being part of the terribly underrated Field Music with his brother Peter, he has also worked with the likes of Eleanor Friedberger, Maximo Park and the Futureheads. Plus, there was a solo album back in 2008 as School Of Language, a moniker he has just dusted off now that Field Music are taking a break.
That said, Old Fears is a very different beast from its predecessor, with a more straightforward approach to the songs. That approach is also what makes it stand apart from Brewis' most recent work with Field Music: the songs can all happily stand alone and lean more towards the jittery melodies of Talking Heads and the electro-funk of Justin Timberlake, whom Brewis admits was an influence.
What plagues Old Fears is the dispassionate delivery. The lyrics are very introspective, and the music has a clinical precision that brings with it a coldness that is hardly welcoming.
Still, Brewis has managed to make an interesting album that has plenty of funk despite lacking soul. It works because of its twitchy pop sensibilities, which gaze longingly back at the '80s, and while that isn't a bad thing, it's still a hard record to get attached to. (Memphis Industries)