Field Music's debut record was one of the more pleasant surprises of 2005. Their brand of smart, sharp, and melody-rich power pop can be about the best kind of music on the planet when done right. To tide over fans smitten by the debut, the band released a collection of B-sides and early songs. Write Your Own History doesn't last long, the nine tracks skittering past in a flash but lingering pleasantly. The vocal harmonies are stunning, the melodies are sunshine on a cloudy day, and the arrangements are precise and clean. Obviously the band doesn't waste songs; their B-sides are as good as anything on the album. In case you were wondering where the songs come from -- "You're Not Supposed To" is a 2006 single, "Breakfast Song" and the gloriously lush "Trying to Sit Out" are taken from the April 2005 Shorter Shorter single, and "In the Kitchen" and "Feeding the Birds" are from July 2005's You Can Decide. The older tracks on the disc come from earlier incarnations of the group. "I'm Tired," "Test Your Reaction," and "Alternating Current" were recorded in 2002 by Electronic Eye Machine and "Can You See Anything" in 2000 by the New Tellers. Or maybe it is the other way around. You can check the cover for the confusing details, or you can forget the details and just listen to the great songs. In many cases such an early vault-clearing would seem like a desperate move of a band out of ideas; this record feels more like a band celebrating its past as it readies for a great leap forward -- plus, their pals in Maxïmo Park did it, so why can't they? No matter what the reason, the disc is a welcome addition to the band's small but hugely impressive catalog.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra