One half of the excellent brotherly duo that form the core of Field Music, Peter Brewis' solo debut is chock-full of ideas and talent. Like his bother David, Peter is not only a singer and songwriter, but also a talented multi-instrumentalist. As well as composing, arranging and singing David also plays guitar, bass, drums, keys and marimba! Brother David lends a hand in various ways, and numerous others contribute. But essentially this is Peter's baby, and she's a beauty.
With thoughtful lyrics delivered in a gently but proudly regional Sunderland accent, there's a bewilderingly broad range of influences audible here, but it all comes together with a homogeneity and identity that feels singular and distinct. The drums and percussion are a very strong element, with some great percussive moments throughout the album, including the strong rhythmic intros to the opening tracks, and the clever stereo hi-hats of 'The Airport Line'. There's also a distinctly 80s vibe, but we're talking more XTC and Phillip Glass than Wham or Duran Duran! Labelled at the art/rock end of indie, I love that this music is just defiantly beyond easy categorisation.
There are some musical ingredients that run throughout most of the music here: heavy emphasis of the downbeats (the music isn't exactly funky), and something slightly angular and muscular in the melodies and riffs, but not to the complete exclusion of a more plaintive feeling. These elements combine effectively in 'Come Home', which is both self-consciously musically clever, and engagingly and wistfully personal. Interesting music, tightly played, well produced, and with real identity. If only the media gave this kind of thing more exposure. But dig the lyrics of 'Scratch The Surface' (another number endowed with excellent percussion, and a strong album closer): "We don't want what's on offer, we really shouldn't bother, so give to me some purpose, you've only scratched the surface"!