Field Music

Music for Drifters

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Composed as the soundtrack to director John Grierson's landmark 1929 documentary film Drifters, Field Music's fifth effort, 2015's Music for Drifters, is the group's first all-instrumental album. A silent film, Drifters documents the difficult, often treacherous lives of a group of North Sea herring fisherman. Fittingly, David and Peter Brewis, the brothers who make up Field Music, grew up in Sunderland, a city located on England's east coast in close proximity to the North Sea. While Field Music are primarily known for crafting highly melodic, rhythmically inventive pop that often hinges upon their literate turns of phrase, they are also clearly adept at channeling emotions solely through an instrumental soundscape. Here, they strike a balance between the classicist pop lyricism of their early albums and the more adventurous prog rock vibe of their more recent recordings. It's almost as if, freed from the constraints of the typically sung pop chorus, Field Music were able to relax into the writing process. The tracks on Music for Drifters have a languid, organic, almost live performance vibe. Cuts like "Casting Out, Pts. 2-3" and the reggae-ish "The Ships Ride Through/Quayside, Pt. 1" have a suppleness that lulls and sways like a ship on gentle waves. In contrast, tracks like the aptly titled "The Storm Gathers" have a foreboding quality that brings to mind a fisherman's sleepless nights in stormy seas. Ultimately, Music for Drifters ebbs and flows with the documentary, moving from idyllic seaside splendor to foreboding mid-ocean swells and back again.

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