Field Music Share “Not When You’re In Love”
Launch The New FIELDMUSICAST Podcast
Flat White Moon LP Out April 23rd on Memphis Industries
Last month, Field Music – the English “national treasures” (NME) composed of Sunderland-born brothers Peter and David Brewis – announced their latest album Flat White Moon, which will be due out on April 23rd via the band’s longtime label Memphis Industries. Early responses to the album have been incredibly positive, with considerable excitement among the Field Music-faithful (including their fellow indie veteran The New Pornographers’ AC Newman), and high praise arriving in early reviews from outlets like MOJO who wrote that “Field Music’s brilliance has become undeniable on Flat White Moon…real deeply-lived insight and dazzling pop expertise.” Today, the band are sharing a new single from the album entitled “Not When You’re In Love,” on which a narrator guides us through slide-projected scenes, questioning the ideas and semantics of ‘love’ as well the reliability of his own memory. The accompanying video was directed by Andy Martin.
This addictive motion stirs up this infectious attachment to this release. With the stirring notes against the precise drum beat and the immersive lyrics, Field Music has created a composition that will leave its mark. The ardent percussion leading the momentum against the off-kilter tempo provides such a compelling hook to this release.
Ahead of the album’s release the brothers have launched a new regular podcast, the FIELDMUSICAST, which for the first batch of episodes, will be Peter and David using songs from their new album Flat White Moon as a jumping off point to talk about the music that inspired them. In Episode 1 the brothers focus on album opener “Orion From the Street” and discuss favourite Minnesotans, their relationship with hip hop (a surprisingly prominent influence on the album), Bob Dylan impressions and recording at quadruple speed. Episode 2 sees them dive into their song “No Pressure”, trips to Barnard Castle, Brian May and Jimmy Page getting funky and trying to play fast enough for pub rock.
Click HERE for your various podcasting options including a Spotify version which plays the songs mentioned in the episodes. As part of the announcement of the new album, Field Music have shared plans for a live stream show to celebrate the release of the LP that will take place at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on April 29th. Tickets are available for purchase here.
“We want to make people feel good about things that we feel terrible about.” says David Brewis, who has co-led the band Field Music with his brother Peter since 2004. It’s a statement which seems particularly fitting to their latest album, Flat White Moon, which is due out April 23rd via Memphis Industries.
Like so many of plans made in the past year, Flat White Moon started out as one thing and evolved into another. After the complexities of touring 2018’s Open Here, which required a bigger live band to cover the expansive arrangements, and then 2020’s Making A New World, which was performed as one continuous piece with a synchronised visual accompaniment, Field Music’s newest album began with the desire to play and to have fun.
“We don’t usually record a song thinking about how we’re going to play it live,” says David. “We’re not that kind of band. But there was a sense that it would be fun to do new songs which didn’t have those complications.“
“We say it all the time: You make music with your ears and your brain first,” Peter adds, “But I trust my ears and my brain, so let’s make something which just feels good and feels physical.“
Sporadic sessions for the album began in late 2019 at the pair’s studio in Sunderland, slotted between rehearsals and touring. The initial recordings pushed a looser performance aspect to the fore, inspired by some of their very first musical loves; Free, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles; old tapes and LPs pilfered from their parents’ shelves. But a balance between performance and construction has always been an essential part of Field Music.
“I was listening to Beck’s Odelay and De La Soul’s Three Feet High and Rising,” says Peter. “I love how they use samples on those albums, taking parts that are obviously played – that are gestural – and then reconstruct them.“
By March, recording had already begun for most of the album’s tracks and, with touring for Making A New World winding down, Peter and David were ready to plough on and finish the record.
“And then of course, coronavirus happens,” David recalls. “I think our plan for the record had already started shifting but the fact that we were both then working from home, stuck with ourselves, accelerated the change, though I probably hung on to the initial idea longer than Peter did.“
“I needed to retreat into myself,” Peter continues, “I enjoyed messing around with the material. I didn’t want to have to think of parts or arrangements. I wanted to play. So it wasn’t against the original idea. It was more of an extension.“
This playfulness became a way to offset the darkness and the sadness of many of the lyrics. Much of the album is plainly about loss and grief, and also about the guilt and isolation which comes with that.
“We’ve always tried to write what’s uppermost in our minds,” says David. “With Making A New World we could sidestep our own lives to a degree. We could immerse ourselves in other people’s stories until we were ready to face the other stuff.“
Those personal upheavals are apparent on songs like “Out of the Frame,” where the loss of a loved one is felt more deeply because they can’t be found in photographs and compounded by the suspicion that you caused their absence, or on “When You Last Heard From a Linda,” which details the confusion of being unable to penetrate a best friend’s loneliness in the darkest of circumstances.
Some songs are more impressionistic. “Orion From The Streets” combines Studio Ghibli, a documentary about Cary Grant and an excess of wine to become a hallucinogenic treatise on memory and guilt. Others, such as “Not When You’re In Love,” are more descriptive. Here, the narrator guides us through slide-projected scenes, questioning the ideas and semantics of ‘love’ as well the reliability of his own memory.
The original, minimal aesthetic appears most strongly in songs like “Do Me A Favour” and “Meant To Be”; an upside-down take on the call and answer blues of “Oh Well” or “Black Dog” but shot through with rhythms inspired by Spanish duo Las Grecas.
For the most part, the album has fewer explicitly political themes than previous records, though there is “No Pressure,” about a political class who feel no obligation to take responsibility if they can finagle a narrative instead. And there’s “I’m The One Who Wants To Be With You” which skirts its way around toxic masculinity through teenage renditions of soft-rock balladry.
After the mesmeric, bittersweet eulogies of “Invisible Days” and “The Curtained Room,” the album closes with “You Get Better” and an unexpected note of optimism. Though in true Field Music fashion, it’s an ambiguous optimism; a hopeful song about not looking for one magical solution to a problem, but just to keep going in the hope that things could change.
Each new Field Music album feels like another evolutionary step for one of the most prolific sets of musical brothers Britain has ever produced. Flat White Moon is another entry in catalog that is sure to be revisited endlessly, a generous record of bounteous musical ideas and in many ways Field Music’s most immediately gratifying to date.
Flat White Moon is out on April 23rd on Memphis Industries. It is available for pre-order here.
Flat White Moon track listing:
1. Orion From The Street
2. Do Me A Favour
3. Not When You’re In Love
4. Out of the Frame
5. When You Last Heard From Linda
6. No Pressure
7. In This City
8. I’m The One Who Wants To Be With You
9. Meant To Be
10. Invisible Days
11. The Curtained Room
12. You Get Better
07 Oct – Aberdeen, UK – Tunnels
08 Oct – Glasgow, UK – St Luke’s
09 Oct – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
14 Oct – Birmingham, UK – Mama Roux’s
15 Oct – Bristol, UK – The Fleece
16 Oct – Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
21 Oct – Brighton, UK – Komedia
22 Oct – London, UK – Electric Ballroom
23 Oct – Manchester, UK – Gorilla