Band of brothers in a field of their own

Field Music.
Field Music.

THE myth of a band of brothers dies hard in rock n roll but how many groups have really been built round genuine siblings?

The Walker Brothers? Nope.

The Righteous Brothers? Nope.

The Doobie Brothers?


Outside of AC/DC, the Everly Brothers and Oasis, there haven’t actually been any. Well, except for Field Music, perhaps.

This wonderfully inventive art pop band, who became the first ‘indie’ band ever to play Harrogate Theatre a couple of years back during the Harrogate International Festival Fringe, are built round two genuine brothers, Sunderland-based siblings David and Peter Brewis.

The band are yet to break into the ‘mainstream’, despite regular critical acclaim from the likes of Mojo magazine and the NME, whose deputy editor Hamish MacBain recently described their new tracks as “solid pop gold at its core.”

Not that it’s something that upsets the band themselves, says Peter.

“It’s great for people to say they like your music but it’s not the reason we’re doing what we are doing.”

Both Brewis’s are currently on tour with their Field Music colleagues promoting their forthcoming new album, a trek which takes in Leeds in a few weeks’ time.

Called Plumb, the new release is this quietly ambitious group’s fourth album since forming in 2004, though there have been other solo projects such as The Week That Was and School of Language in that period, too.

The new album is another change of direction for this perky but imaginative outfit.

It’s partly down to a change of environment, says, Peter, one forced on them when their long-time studio in a community centre closed.

Peter said: “It’s only when we moved studios that we realised how much our sound relied on the room it was recorded in. That tightness in our music came partly from the space.”

Early line-ups featured members of both Maxïmo Park and The Futureheads before the Brewis brothers settled on their current line-up and sound.

Restlessly creative, the band set themselves a new musical challenge this time.

The new abum’s 15 songs in 35 minutes add up to a bit of a contrast to their last release, the double album Measure which weighed in at a hefty 70 minutes.

Peter said: “We decided to be less sonically consistent and let the material dictate the form. If we came up with a good riff and it had done its job after eights bars, we didn’t feel the need to repeat it.

“By the time we came to the mixing stage I was surprised myself by what we’d produced.”

For a British pop band, Field Music are remarkably unafraid to experiment, not only in musical terms but also in the broader fields of arts.

Peter recently collaborated with an arts-based social enterprise in Manchester to produce a piece of music called One Copy, of which there now exists only one copy safely ensconced inside a record player in Sale’s Lauriston Gallery.

All this daring-do possibly stems from the well-read Brewis brothers’ own massive range of musical loves.

Peter says his brother David has been force-feeding him David Bowie’s ‘Berlin trilogy’ recently with its similarly fractured approach to music-making.

Not that Plumb and its blend of 20th century film music, off-beat funk and XTC really sounds like The Thin White Duke in his 70s prime.

In fact, Peter says he’s listening to Duke Ellington at the moment.

“He’s amazing. For about 35 years he had the best band in the world. Listening to jazz or classical musical is an ear-cleansing exercise. I don’t own an iPod because I like to hear the sounds of the streets when I’m walking. The bird noises, people’s voices, the every-day environment. I like to be surprised.”

l Field Music play Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on Monday, February 20.

l For tickets, visit