Set in the years following the First World War, Field Music's first concept album explores many of the consequential effects, events, and circumstances that shaped both Britain and the world at large. More a curious set of vignettes than an expansive narrative, Making a New World sees brothers David and Peter Brewis applying their dynamic art-rock to such concepts as town planning ("Best Kept Garden"), the birth of air-to-ground radio communications ("Do You Read Me?"), and the development of the modern sanitary napkin ("Only in a Man's World"). It's hardly the stuff on which rock & roll was built, but Field Music have a way of transmuting the dry and historical into surprisingly engaging pop songs full of supple musicality and a passion for the source. Growing out of a project originally commissioned by the Imperial War Museum, the band found a fertile creative muse in their research of post-war history. Notions of design, art, history, society, and technology are not necessarily new to Field Music's oeuvre, and the scholastic nature of this rather complex song cycle somehow makes sense in the Brewis Brothers' hands. Their distinctive brand of indie pop has been constantly refined over the years as they smartly thread between bits of clever guitar rock, synth pop, soul, disco, and chamber pop, this time adding in some light prog-rock sophistication and the sort of aerodynamic new wave that harkens back to Thomas Dolby's early work. Like each of their previous releases, Making a New World is an ambitious, original, and exquisitely crafted work, full of rich details and compelling songs that translate the past into modern new shapes.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger