Many bands have kept the progressive rock torch lit into the current decade, exercising the complex structures and virtuous musicianship just as well as their forefathers have, but few have managed to carry it to the altar of pop prowess that Field Music have. While their 2005 debut leaned closer toward chamber pop, the quartet's technicality glimmered brightly on their followup Tones of Town. Since then, they've seen fit to continue experimenting with this prog-pop distinction, resulting in the formidable double-disc Field Music (Measure).
Unlike its predecessor, Plumb harks back to the succinct yet elaborate songwriting of Tones of Town, churning out micro-nuggets as instantaneous as those on the second side of Abbey Road. On the subject of sequencing, Plumb begins marvelously with "Start the Day Right"'s embodiment of Christmas morning in the vicinity of sweeping strings and wondrous piano, eagerly transitioning into Field Music's well established regimen of melodic bombast. The band doesn't sound out of character, but their approach is as fresh as ever.
Variety is what drives Plumb's momentum. The chorus of "Choosing Sides" has a lyrical quirk bound to catch any listener off-guard, "I want a different idea of what 'better' can be / Which doesn't necessitate having more useless shit." A quiet-loud dynamic is explored on "Guillotine", whereas the straightforward and driving "Is That The Picture?" features an elastic guitar riff akin to the Flaming Lips' hit "She Don't Use Jelly", though revamped with infectious falsettos and an overall boisterous presence. The band happens upon gentler endeavors as well: "So Long Then" is a quaint piano-driven ballad anchored by a McCartney-esque bassline, and "Just Like Everyone Else" displays David Brewis's vocals at their most frail and earnest. On Plumb, Field Music are their wonted selves, delivering flavors from prog's heyday imbued with the angular hooks and heady craftsmanship that have distinguished them since their inception.
[Field Music Website]
[Buy Plumb from Memphis Industries]