Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music at 2KHz, Crouch End, London
It's been a while since I listened to something and didn't immediately think that, once again, we were all dealing with some of ugly and avoidable problems that someone's been stacking up for the longest time, dealing with them in artsy, but impractical ways. It's rare that we just hear a collection of songs from someone and think of the Saturday morning smell of fresh cut grass and a lazy afternoon rather than bitter or broken relations with someone that another used to love and formerly was loved back by, or some serious levels of depression and assorted snafus.
With Sunderland, England's Field Music, you sit there after the music's died down and you believe that you've just listened to something that was mostly civil and sophisticated. It was a discourse on common problems, but they were all things that could be wrestled with minus red cheeks and getting flustered. Sure, there were bill collectors who crept into the narrative, at one point, but these were just practical matters playing themselves out because they were being thought of at the time and what better time to think about practical matters than when they're fresh and they can just be sorted and crossed off the list in front of you, snappily and without breaking a sweat.
David and Peter Brewis, the brothers who have fronted the group since 2004, make us feel like all they might need to satisfy their evening is for the moon to break free from the backside of a bank of clouds and shine a strong light down so they can find their shoes and their keys. And if it's just not meant to be, they'll take in the night as it is, walking over streets and trails, beneath the muted sky's gray sigh.