School Of Language: Old Fears

Half of Field Music directs disco, electro and funk through the prog prism.

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Resolutely independent, restlessly inventive and with their collective fingers in plenty of pop pies, Field Music’s Brewis brothers are approaching national treasure status. They are fliers of the prog flag without ever being mired in the aesthetics or ideologies of the past. David Brewis’ second solo album as School Of Language produces plenty of delicious curveballs, taking in clipped funk, tremulous falsetto, twisted disco and much more.

No longer hiding behind the veil of abstraction occasionally worn by Field Music, Old Fears is an emotional record about the anxieties of modern living, as well as love and relationships.

Brewis crafts avant-pop that has much in common with cultural outliers such as Robert Wyatt, Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel, though he’s no snob: he happily cites Shalamar and the precision production on NER*D and Justin Timberlake albums as an influence. The instrumental title track is a beguiling piece of Goblin-esque electro while A Smile Cracks charms like David Byrne.

An album highlight, Between The Suburbs offers a wonderful slice of electro-poetry and repeat listening reveals new layers. It’s a Russian doll of a record, and quite special.