Monday, 10 March 2008

Back to School

I love independent record stores. There's more character squeezed into one corner of these grimy little side-street shops than in 1,000+ HMV branches, regardless of how many colours their liberated register monkeys may be permitted in their hair. Aside from the utterly spastic musical outbursts that pour forth from the indie store stereo, there's also the loving little recommendation notes that the staff will happily add to the discs you're perusing. Little nuggets of advice to steer you in the right direction and avoid shipwreck in a sea of tantalising releases. This is how I picked up on, amongst others, The Hold Steady, Alchemist, Channels, and now School of Language.

The best thing is that I know little or nothing of Field Music, the principal day job of one David Brewls, so I've had no prior expectations to taint my first listens of this gorgeous little twisted pop opus from his current artistic focus, 'Sea From Shore'. 'Skewed pop' or thereabouts was the description on the handwritten Probe Records label and I can see the point. This is really catchy but at first it's not totally obvious why. The songs weave in and out in an almost jerky fashion, which doesn't sound entirely as though it lends itself to mind inhabiting refrains but that's certainly what happens on standout tracks like opener 'Rockist Part 1' and 'This Is No Fun'. The latter is a superb example of the band taking a fairly simple melody, contorting it into different shapes and sounds, then bringing it ba
ck into the realm of the catchy with a memorable chorus and a hook that could catch Old Gregg. It's also a complete misnomer, as the entire album is chock full of enjoyable, fun tunes that keep you guessing and fully entertained from the first to fifteenth spin.

So this is a highly recommended new release over which I'm well chuffed to have stumbled. Kudos to Probe Records in Liverpool (corner of Slater/Fleet St.....pop down to Korova for a bevvie after and examine your new purchases to some electro-indie noise) for their continued existence and fighting the good fight. Like the US to a World War, I'm late but whole heartedly supporting you now!

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