FIELD Music’s passion for their craft is palpable.
It’s evident in their music which can’t fail but make you sit up and listen and it shines through in the way they speak of the home city which informs their sound.
Unlike many who’ve migrated to the “Big Smoke” to seek success, Field Music, aka the Brewis brothers, who first played as teenage pub rock prodigies in 1999, have found it on their doorstep.
David still lives in Sunderland, Roker to be precise, and the band’s new album, Plumb, was recorded on the banks of the River Wear.
The fruits of their labour can be heard on Plumb’s release date – February 6 in the UK and February 7 in the U.S.
David said: “We had a shared space with the Futureheads for about 10 years at the old Monkwearmouth College which we moved out of last year. We had moved in there in the summer of 2001 and made many albums there.
“Now we’re based at an industrial unit in St Peter’s.
“I definitely think Sunderland informs our music. Our approach to music is formed by the attitudes our parents have instilled in us.
“Those attitudes are definitely linked to the town. It’s probably similar in a lot of Northern, working-class former industrial cities.”
The album, which was recorded over the course of 2011, comprises 15 songs in a succinct 35 minutes.
It abandons the more classic songwriting conventions the brothers embraced on their 2010 album, Measure, and instead returns to the more fragmented style of the first two Field Music albums – blending synth-rock with funk.
“They can expect lots of songs in a short space of time,” explained David when talking about what fans can expect from Plumb.
“I expect them to look at the track counter on their CD player and be constantly surprised.
“We’ve tried a few new things, but it sounds like a Field Music album. The last album was more like a rock album so the song structures in this are quite different.
“We’ve done four Field Music albums as well as each working on solo albums and on other albums, so people’s expectations of us are quite broad. They expect us to take twists and turns.”
To coincide with the album’s release, the band are embarking on a UK tour. Their North East leg, at The Cluny 2, is inevitably sold out.
David says they’d relish the chance to play their home city more, but though Sunderland is a burgeoning hive of musical creativity, its somewhat lacking in the audience department.
As David explains: “Sunderland needs a proper, long-term strategy for developing an audience.
“The reason we play Newcastle more than Sunderland isn’t so much because of the venue, although The Cluny is a great venue. It’s because we can’t be sure of filling a venue in Sunderland.
“There isn’t that core group of 200-300 people that go to a new music gig once a week.
He added: “I think things like the Split Parade and the Split Battle of the Bands go some way though in developing that audience.
“But the thing with the bigger Stadium of Light gigs is that there isn’t a regular enough connection with the audience. Most of that audience will probably never go to another gig in Sunderland.”
Plans are in the pipeline, however, for a gig in spring with The Bunker, who David can’t praise enough for their work in promoting music in Sunderland at grass-roots level.
In the meantime, the brothers are focusing on doing what they do best – touring the UK and Europe and fitting in a few festival sets before they head back to their St Peter’s studio to carve out more Sunderland sounds.
l A highlight of the new album, (I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing, can now be streamed and downloaded from their website at www.field-music.co.uk along with preorders for the album and tickets for live shows.