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School of Language - Sea from Shore
Review by Tony BonyataWhile the members of the Sunderland, England indie band Field Music are on an extended hiatus from recording and touring in order for the three core members - Andrew Moore and brothers David and Peter Brewis - to explore different musical paths of their own, David Brewis is the first to actually put his own non-Field Music songs to disc for his debut solo effort Sea from Shore, under the band pseudonym School of Language.
Other than a couple of guest musicians that contribute on a few tracks, the majority of this eleven-song collection is a true 'solo' effort in the sense of the word. While two members of The Futureheads (another popular indie band that also hails from Sunderland) help flesh out a couple of numbers - Barry Hyde adds shards of electric guitar on the bold, quirky pop of "Disappointment '99,'" while David Craig adds vocals to the same song, as well as the snappy "Extended Holiday" - the rest finds Brewis cut-and-pasting spastic rhythms, with smart guitars, arresting vocals and enough hip indie-rock sensibilities to keep their name ricocheting around the music blogs for some time to come.
The album is book-ended by the four numbers "Rockist Parts 1-4" (two at the start and two at the end of the record). While the two openers are more eccentric, with a drugged-loop of strange vocals punctuating the rhythm, the closers, while still built on the same chords and melodies as their two predecessors, are decidedly more straightforward and pop-rock oriented.
But just when you thought you might have Brewis figured out, he throws in the wonderful curveball of "This Is No Fun," which, with it's mathematical chord progressions, cinematic build and a purposely silly-sounding keyboard bit straight out of Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway album, makes for a pleasant visit back to the land of Prog Rock - only, this time, without the guilt.
What this album and solo project proves more than anything, however, is that Brewis has a fountainhead of interesting musical ideas that extend well beyond the confines of his full-time stint with Field Music. Here's hoping that School of Language keeps their line of communications open in the future.
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