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There’s a moment mid-way through ‘Commontime’, Field Music’s fifth album proper, that apes Pharrell Williams’ most famous production trick so closely that you can almost hear the outsized trilby being hung on the back of the studio door. The opening lick of ‘It’s a Good Thing’, with its slick, high-pop Neptunes thwack, is a deeply satisfying reference, but perhaps more satisfying still is that in the context of the album, it feels utterly natural – ‘Commontime’ is Field Music’s high-pop album, and they want you to know it: elsewhere the Brewis brothers conjure Phil Collins’ ‘Easy Lover’ (‘But Not For You’), ELO (‘They Want You To Remember’), early Paul McCartney solo stuff (‘That’s Close Enough For Now’) and all manner of Steely Dan (pretty much everything else) in such a consistent demonstration of insistently tuneful, off-kilter and seamless songcraft that omitting a nod to a writer of Williams’ calibre might almost constitute a snub.

That isn’t to say, however, that ‘Commontime’ is an exercise in pastiche, or even tribute. While it may gaze longingly in the direction of the megabucks studio projects of LA, this is still a record audibly born and raised in Sunderland, with all the attendant workmanlike stoicism and Field Music quirk that that implies: under every glistening guitar and 70s keyboard line there’s a patient, unshowy percussion section holding the track together with architectural precision, and each song is produced with enough space to allow its constituent parts to all do their jobs independently. In that way, ‘Commontime’ is a mightily efficient album, too: its most memorable moments – ‘Noisy Days’’ saxophone entry; the shift in rhythm at the start of ‘Disappointed’; the aforementioned Pharrellism – don’t flail across entire tracks but instead package themselves up into ten-second blasts, making for a moreish experience that nearly compensates for the record’s slightly over-extended running time.

In musical notation, “common time” refers to the 4/4 time signature, the most prevalent in Western music and the most fundamental building block of virtually all pop. It’s an apt title for an authoritative but never corny love-letter to some of the genre’s most delicious tropes.

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