The recording hiatus of Field Music left lovers of intelligent, endlessly hooky, and interesting modern guitar pop feeling kind of empty. After all, the group had only recorded two albums and was really just hitting its stride, it seemed. Luckily, the bandmembers haven't ditched music altogether and plan to work together in various ways in the future, keeping the Field Music name as a production company. The first product of their continued alliance is School of Language, singer/guitarist David Brewis' solo project. Apart from a tiny bit of help on guitar and backing vocals, Brewis is responsible for every sound on the album and, much to the relief of anyone lamenting the end of the band, every sound he makes could have been taken straight off a Field Music album. Sea from Shore is perhaps less polished and sleek than Tones of Town, but it shares the same precise use of instrumentation, the same amount of melodic invention, the same warmth and restrained emotion, and -- perhaps most importantly -- Brewis' wonderfully elastic and rich vocals. As with any Field Music record, there is a sense of daring and exploration throughout Sea from Shore that is both exciting and comforting. From the opening "Rockist, Pt. 1," which uses loops of Brewis' cut-up vocals, and then all throughout the record, Brewis is never content to just strum through the chord changes. Instead, there are shimmering stabs of piano, off-kilter rhythms, clattering percussion, and gently jarring guitar riffs that keep the listener off-guard and interested. Yet all the sonic trickery Brewis employs never detracts from the songs, letting the reliably stunning melodies shine through clearly. There are songs here that compare favorably to past triumphs -- the four-part "Rockist" (which may be the hookiest song he's written yet), the pocket epic "Ships," and the restrained and lovely ballad "Keep Your Water," to name a few -- and show that Brewis has lost none of his knack for writing pop songs that truly have some pop in them. Sea from Shore could have been a huge letdown, but instead is another wonderful record from the increasingly trustworthy Field Music family.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra