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Field Music: Measure

B+

Field Music

Album: Measure
Label: Memphis Industries

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After a temporary split into School Of Language and The Week That Was, David and Peter Brewis have reconvened Field Music, returning with the 20-song, 70-minute Measure. The band’s 2005 debut album offered a concise introduction to the Field Music sound, nodding both to the Reich-ian wing of early-’80s new wave and the poppier end of late-’70s prog; then 2007’s Tones Of Town worked that sound into a short song-cycle with its own narrative pull. But Measure is more diffuse, full of the “just trying something out” experiments and fragmentary reprises that usually only make it onto double albums. The record is thick with sinew, thin on muscle and bone. Still, even a deconstructed Field Music is capable of arresting moments: an unexpectedly slashing guitar solo, a gorgeous string arrangement, and other rewards for waiting patiently through one of the band’s intriguing-but-undercooked rhythmic exercises. And when the Brewis brothers bust out in full XTC-style guitar-pop mode on the surging “Effortlessly” and the hopeful “Share The Words,” the songs bloom all the brighter. Even when Field Music is playing with extended silences in anti-pop songs like “Curve Of The Needle” or the album-closing “It’s About Time,” the Brewises seem to cheerfully heed the take-a-chance advice of one of Measure’s best songs: “Them that do nothing make no mistakes.”