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Field Music – Open Here album review

Prince-endorsed prog poppers open out.

Cocooned in their Sunderland studio with an eviction notice on the mantelpiece, the Brewis brothers bid farewell to their preferred location with a sparkling work which subtly opens up new roads for them to explore. Yes, it’s dominated by their major calling card of 80s-influenced art pop, as the funky guitar rhythms echo not just XTC and Tears For Fears but also less canon-approved names like Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones. Yet by its journey’s end it’s spun into a colour wheel of strings, flutes and flugelhorns which feels more Canterbury than Mackem. If 2016’s Commontime was slightly repetitive, Field Music here prove they’re a multiple trick string of ponies with Prince-like motifs and Sparks-like curls of dark comedy. Throughout the lyrics there’s a reaction to current political mayhem, the concerns of parenthood merging with the inevitable melancholy that intelligence brings. By the time the vast finale Find A Way To Keep Me arrives, almost a cousin of Big Big Train, we’ve travelled the spectrum from subversive dance to bucolic prog, the arrangements increasingly bold and voracious. Wherever they go next, they’re taking us with them.