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FIELD MUSIC - Field Music (Measure)

"It takes nothing at all/to be complicated." Or so sings Peter Brewis, one half of the brotherly duo behind Sunderland's Field Music. Take a listen to Field Music (Measure) and it would certainly appear that the man is being honest. Between them, the pair shrug off 20 tracks of coolly meandering, unpredictable tunes—all this, and barely a year since each recording their own excellent projects (Peter's stellar ensemble The Week That Was, and brother David's excellent School Of Language).

But while the sheer quantity is impressible enough, it's the steadfast quality of this set that seals the deal. Ranging from barroom piano vignettes that would make Harry Nilsson blush to slices of meditative string-laden melancholy, and from found sound sketches to ecstatic bursts of left-turn pop that steal Andy Partridge's mojo right from his hands, (Measure) is one hell of a ride. And it's not one that is at all a chore, either. Instead, it's one of the most expertly sequenced albums you'll hear. Most double albums are famous for indulgent wanderings that often alienate the listener—not so this one. Whether slow and careful or delivered with dizzy twists, the songs express themselves with a quick clarity and purpose.

Seamlessly presented, yes, (Measure) does require 70 minutes of your time, but it is to the album's everlasting credit that you'll not only not want one of them back, but you'll happily offer up seventy more right away to hear it all again. Probably the best thing I've heard this year, and a shoo-in for the cream of 2010.

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