The follow-up to 2014's Old Fears, the farcical and funked-up 45 sees Field Music's David Brewis grapple with the inscrutable age of Trump by taking the 45th president of the United States head-on. Inspired in part by author Bob Woodward's tell-all White House book Fear, as well as the contrastingly smooth sounds of the Meters, Sly & the Family Stone, and Free, Brewis uses POTUS' own words and actions as narrative chum, allowing them to marinate in the listeners' heads before offering up a pithy rejoinder -- Brewis is donating a percentage of the album's proceeds to Planned Parenthood and The Alliance for Choice in Northern Ireland. Trump's love of hyperbole is a common through line, with Brewis building entire pieces off of tried-and-true Trumpisms like "Nobody knows...better than me" ("Nobody Knows") and having "The Best People." Friends ("Rocket Man") and enemies ("Rex") are dealt with, walls are discussed at length ("A Beautiful Wall"), and questions concerning mental fitness are raised ("The Goldwater Rule"), all the while being carried along by a soundtrack steeped in twitchy new wave, power pop, and Sunderland funk. It's divisive, danceable, and more than a little bit myopic, but it bears the creative mark of an artist whose acumen for pop craftsmanship is uncontested. Despite its overall upbeat sonic vibe, 45 is also spilling over with discontent. Brewis is parsing through what's happening across the pond with the casual exasperation of an outsider, and in a cruel twist of fate, without the knowledge that just days before the release of the album, Trump's English doppelgänger Boris Johnson would be elected prime minister.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger