By: Shain Shapiro
The more things change, the more they stay the same. This old saw applies to Field Music's sophomore LP, Tones of Town (Memphis Industries), where this Sunderland, UK trio have constructed a sound built on their past but more firmly ensconced in lovely, flowery, bubbly '60s pop like the revolutionary work of The Lovin' Spoonful, early Beach Boys, The Turtles and The Monkees.
After a bell-laden introduction, they launch into "Give It or Take It," a fierce opener that asserts their new sonic mission. Only a bellowing organ line differentiates this from Summer Of Love fare, a feel that permeates the entire release, from the candid, white boy beat boxing of "So Tight" to the Todd Rundgren influenced "A House is Not A Home" and the gorgeously harmonic "Closer At Hand." Emulating the Summer Of Love is no easy feat. Hell, originality is essentially something that's been done before filtered through a new set of eyes. In popular music, originality is judged by how one reflects their influences.
Therefore, Tones of Town is far from original. Field Music regurgitates their influences but does so candidly. Theirs is a plaintive and accessible approach that emphasizes the melody and sing-along nature of each tune. Clever string work permeates the background, accenting what's been borrowed from the past without being derivative.
I quite like Tones of Town and Field Music in general. Their self-titled debut laid the groundwork for this collection. Though haunted by the ghouls of past loves, Field Music are clever enough in their tweaking to be contagious in their own right.