Field Music – “If Only the Moon Were Up” 7”
Memphis Industries, 2005
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Years back I reviewed Field Music’s sophomore LP Tones of Town and despite thinking it was just “pretty good” for some reason I very clearly remember listening to it a dozen times and writing the review. Even though I can’t remember what the album sounds like. Not at all. I do the same thing with Broken Social Scene: a band I like when I’m listening to but can’t think of a single defining trait that makes their music memorable. For a long time I used to vilify this sort of music. “Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.” (I think that’s seriously the second time I’ve used that Macbeth quote this week what the fuck?). I’ve never reviled Field Music, though, despite not being able to hum a melody from any of their songs. I think it’s because I remember their songs being immaculately crafted. British brothers David and Peter Brewis gave me the impression that they know exactly what the fuck they are doing.
“If Only the Moon Were Up” was the third single from their eponymous first album and it’s good enough to give me the impression that that album is really good. There were two songs more single worthy than this one? Fantastic. Right up front it’s got that angular guitar sound that sort of ruled Britain’s guitar rock from the mid 00s (Think Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand), but then it blossoms into this beautiful piece of tuneful throwback British pop that is rather Kinks-y with an XTC patch sewn on its shoulder. The B-Side, “I’m Tired,” is a quiet little tune anchored by acoustic strums and a tastefully synthesized drum beat (that really, might just have some effects on it because Peter Brewis is a very good drummer). Some strings are subtly filtered in for the chorus and every time I listen to the song I have to remind myself that this is a b-side. This is a brilliant little melancholy pop song that didn’t make the cut. Craftsmanship, goddamnit. Field Music have it in spades.
Note: I never got around to Field Music’s latest, Plumb, but my music nerd brother-in-arms Cameron Hawk over at Record Geek Heaven went gaga for it last year and the strength of this single is making me think I need to get around to that one.
"If Only the Moon Were Up"