Grade: 7.93 (B-)
Official Site: field-music.co.uk
After 2010's double album "Measure" which was a handful of well thought out songs that took a while to sift through but was an absolute joy once you found the songs you enjoyed the most, I was looking forward to the latest album from Field Music. The opening single "(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing" had the same charm that songs like "Them That Do Nothing", "Measure", and "Effortlessly" had from their last release. A lot of the elements that made those songs special are spread throughout "Plumb" but it's not an easily digestible album. The Brewis brothers still bring a lot of The British charm and XTC/early Genesis like melodies, but at 36 minutes and 15 songs, it comes off as a bunch of ideas instead of conventional songs. Things shift within songs, into other songs...all the prog stuff that makes it really difficult for me to sink my teeth into. And that, at least to me, is mildly disappointing.
Take the opening suite for instance. "Start The Day Right" completely glows in the warmth of its orchestra like keys and smart construction of a perfect opener, but it cuts off right when you get the feeling that "this is going to be something special" into the second song "It's Okay To Change" which also performs the same trick into the third song "Sorry Again Mate" (Just looking at those three titles, is there an inside joke here?) I'm not totally dismissing "Plumb" but the situation that arises with songs quickly going onto other ideas before they are fully realized is my biggest bone to pick. And it's a shame, really. There are a ton of hooks, great swirling instrumentation, and a lot of quirky and wistful moments fly by if you can catch them by their tails. The strengths happen to show up the best on the last two songs. "Just Like Everyone Else" is a pure pop sensation and "(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing" is purely catchy jangle guitars with big keyboards all wrapped into a brilliant bite. These two songs leave a good feeling to end a quick affair.
JHO Picks: (I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing, Just Like Everyone Else, Who'll Pay The Bills?, Is This The Picture?