schooloflanguage

Broadly telling his life story up to the night in 2001 that he met his wife, David Brewis’ second album away from his parent band Field Music wends its way through unapologetic teenage hubris (‘A Smile Cracks’), crises of confidence (‘Moment of Doubt’) and finally ecstatic love (‘You Kept Yourself’) with a humility that is consistently charming and a lyrical deftness that perfectly complements the accompanying knotty, coiled-spring funk beneath: the right-angles of Field Music are audible throughout, but save for a delicious blast of saxophone at the very end, Brewis opts for minimalist arrangements, skilfully reflecting the record’s more introspective mood.

It’s easy to imagine how, in lesser hands, a record like this could dissolve into solipsistic cobblers by the end, so it’s a testament to Brewis’ self-awareness that when he sings “everything left to learn is best learned together” on the album finale and high point, the romance feels so elevating and pleasingly believable. Simultaneously confessional and stoic, ‘Old Fears’ is that rare, perfectly compact record whose very idiosyncrasies provide its broadest appeal.

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