Reviews

Field Music
Making A New World

(Memphis Industries)

7/10

This seventh album from Field Music will be released ten days into the new twenties, which may have been a strategic move. They might, in ten years’ time, be able to claim it was the best concept record about war released that decade, which they wouldn’t have been able to say if it had arrived in 2019 because PJ Harvey put Let England Shake out in 2011. Making a New World emerged from a commission from the Imperial War Museum, and has blossomed into an album that the Brewis brothers themselves would be at pains to point out is not about war but rather the mundanity of its consequences.

Where Harvey’s masterpiece so intangibly evoked the quiet horror of the intrinsic link between battle and the British identity, Field Music zero-in on hyper-specifics, meaning we get tracks like ‘Money Is a Memory’, which conjures the administrative side of the fulfilment, in 2010 (!), of Germany’s final World War I reparation payment, or ‘A Change of Heir’, which reflects on show the brutality of combat effectively necessitated the invention of skin grafts. It’s a beguiling listen in that regard, and there’s a minimalism to the palette that they’re painting with that almost suggests they’re happy for the ideas to do the talking; quiet ambience defines the instrumentals of ‘A Common Language’, whilst even the barbed likes of ‘Beyond That of Courtesy’ are subtle in their spikiness. It takes a band well-versed in nuance to pull off a project of this sophistication – which is probably why the museum approached Field Music in the first place.

Loud And Quiet needs your help

The COVID-19 crisis has cut off our advertising revenue stream, which is how we’ve always funded how we promoted new independent artists.

Now we must ask for your help.

If you enjoy our articles, photography and podcasts, please consider becoming a subscribing member. It works out to just £1 per week, to receive our next 6 issues, our 15-year anniversary zine, access to our digital editions, the L&Q brass pin, exclusive playlists, the L&Q bookmark and loads of other extras.