Local Wire

Field Music

Brothers Peter and David Brewis may have an unerring knack for melodic hooks, but full songs prove a trickier proposition for them. Two-thirds of Field Music, the Brewises deliver their second album of frequently shimmering ditties on Tones of Town, stitching together Beach Boys harmonies, string sections, and XTC-style pop into a sound that occasionally feels more like a disjointed collection of great sonic ideas than a solid batch of proper songs. Representing for thin, bookish white people everywhere who know more about the studio than they do about the real world, these English lads treat their thematic content as just some words for the listener to sing along to. This lack of an emotional undercurrent can make Tones of Town a frustrating (but impressively diverting) one-dimensional experience, perfect background music for figuring out your taxes, but not something you'll hold close to your heart. That double-edged sword is most apparent on the melancholy closer, "She Can Do What She Wants," in which a guy tries to rationalize his girlfriend's ending of their relationship. Peter and David get so busy enjoying the tune's bells and whistles that neither they nor the guy seem to even notice that she's gone.