Album Review: Field Music - Measure

Field Music have always been an act that has kept its audience on their toes; whether it be releasing a huge catalog of albums, b-sides, and one-off singles in rapid succession, a rather abrupt announcement of the need for the band to take an indefinite “break”, or the announcement and quick release of a double album with almost no hint that anything was in the Field Music pipeline.

Measure, the aforementioned double album, maintains the Brewis brothers ability to keep their fans guessing with an absolute wealth of music. Although the announcement of the double album brought initial elation on my part, it was quickly followed up by a sneaking suspicion that Field Music’s style might not translate well to a longer playing album. Their knack for constructing pop-rock gems with more moving parts than a Thomas Pynchon novel works beautifully in a normal length album because they are really packing in a double-album’s worth of music and ideas into a single album, but a double-album could very well have been the aural equivalent of attempting to jam fourteen people into a compact car for a karaoke night.

In the end, Measure does indeed fall victim to the excess of its creators, but not because the music is not up to their usual, exceptionally high standards. Instead, Measure simply becomes an album that is quite difficult to properly listen to in one sitting due to its nearly overwhelming trove of melodies and musical flourishes.

That said, David and Peter Brewis have still managed to create a work of beauty with enough moments of clarity and genius to firmly put Measure in contention for album of the year consideration and the musical ‘curve’ associated with the album should in no way dissuade anyone from buying a copy of the album and enjoying it for what it really is: a work of musical art that shows Field Music stretching themselves to the breaking point on genre-bending works of metered precision.