How much does it take for someone to become your New Favorite Band? A single great album? Or does it require more of a body of work? In my case, the English progressive pop group Field Music has achieved New Favorite status with its fourth and latest record, Plumb. Led by the brother act of David and Peter Brewis, Field Music first came to my attention with its 2005 self-titled debut, which included the pulsing, piano-driven single, "You Can Decide." Between that record and a charmingly unassuming (and criminally under-attended) performance at SXSW, I marked Field Music as a band to watch, but merely that.
A year and a half later, Tones of Town took a large step forward with its crafty, circular structures, spindly guitar figures and XTC-like harmonies — it was my favorite record of 2007, at which point it was clear that these guys held upper-echelon status for me. Their standing was briefly derailed in 2008, as the brothers stepped away from the Field Music moniker and released separate solo projects (David as School of Language, Peter as The Week That Was), both excellent in their own right. But who wants to confer New Favorite Band status on a group with only two official albums and no promise of future material?
Thankfully, they reconvened as Field Music in grand fashion two years ago with Field Music (Measure), a double-album's worth of tunes proving the Brewis brothers in fine mettle, with a slightly more pastoral tone tempering the angular approach of their earlier work. It became Field Music's most popular album to date, as the band finally began to get the recognition it richly deserved.
Two years later, the release of Plumb — out Feb. 14 — makes Field Music's status official. Full of dynamic, progressive-rock-inspired songs that would make the members of Yes jealous, Plumb is seasoned with just the right amount of handclaps, acoustic guitar accents, bubbling synths and segued song suites to appeal to both the long-haired rock theoreticians of yesteryear and the bespectacled post-rockers of today, not to mention those simply looking for their New Favorite Band. I'm pretty sure I've found mine.
-- By KCRW DJ and Music Librarian, Eric J. Lawrence
Plumb will be available to stream on demand from February 6 through February 14, 2012. The album will be released on the 14th of February! Happy Valentine's Day.