Hailing from Sunderland, England, indie/art rockers Field Music were formed in the early 2000s by siblings Peter and David Brewis. Their colorful and hyper-musical blend of tricky Beach Boys melodies filtered through a post-rock-meets-prog-rock-meets-soft-rock aesthetic has drawn comparisons to the New Pornographers and the Futureheads, but ultimately they sound unique.
Their self-titled debut was released in 2005 on Memphis Industries Records, followed by Write Your Own History in 2006 and Tones of Town in 2007. After this burst of activity, the brothers put Field Music on hiatus in order to start "solo" projects (School of Language for David, the Week That Was for Peter), though each brother played on the other's albums. The brothers regrouped under the Field Music name in 2010, releasing Field Music (Measure) in early 2010. They didn't wait long before hitting the studio again, the result being 2012's prog rock-influenced Plumb, their fourth full-length outing. To promote it, the brothers also formed a touring edition of Field Music with Kev Dosdale and Ian Black. Once finished with a slate of shows, the brothers Brewis went their semi-separate ways again, with David's School of Language releasing the 2014 album Old Fears and Peter working with Maximo Park's Paul Smith on an album, Frozen by Sight, that came out the same year.
Their break was again short-lived, and in 2015 they released Music for Drifters, the soundtrack to a re-release of director John Grierson's landmark 1929 North Sea fishing documentary Drifters. That same year the Brewis brothers joined bassist Black's group Slug to record their first album, Ripe, and started recording their next Field Music album. Commontime, which drew inspiration from slick '80s pop like Hall & Oates, was released in early 2016 by longtime label Memphis Industries. Following the album's release, the band undertook its first tour of the U.K. in four years, while also taking a short detour to the U.S. They also worked with Warm Digits on the soundtrack for Esther Johnson's Asunder, a documentary that traced World War I's impact on North East England. The two groups, along with Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley, performed the score alongside a string ensemble at a 2017 screening at the Barbican Centre. Peter Brewis also appeared on Warm Digits' 2017 album Wireless World, providing vocals on one song. He also appeared on, and helped produce, the Cornshed Sisters' 2017 album Honey & Tar.
By this time the Brewis brothers were hard at work on the next Field Music album. Recorded at their own studio on the banks of the River Wear, the brothers welcomed contributions from guests Sarah Hayes on flute and piccolo, the Cornshed Sisters' Liz Corney on vocals, Pete Fraser on saxophone, Simon Dennis on horns, and the band's usual string quartet of Ed Cross, Jo Montgomery, Chrissie Slater, and Ele Leckie. The resulting album, Open Here, was issued by Memphis Industries in February of 2018. ~ James Christopher Monger