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Sea from Shore

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Album Review

The recording hiatus of Field Music left lovers of intelligent, endlessly hooky, and interesting modern guitar pop feeling kind of empty. After all, the group had only recorded two albums and was really just hitting its stride, it seemed. Luckily, the bandmembers haven't ditched music altogether and plan to work together in various ways in the future, keeping the Field Music name as a production company. The first product of their continued alliance is School of Language, singer/guitarist David Brewis' solo project. Apart from a tiny bit of help on guitar and backing vocals, Brewis is responsible for every sound on the album and, much to the relief of anyone lamenting the end of the band, every sound he makes could have been taken straight off a Field Music album. Sea from Shore is perhaps less polished and sleek than Tones of Town, but it shares the same precise use of instrumentation, the same amount of melodic invention, the same warmth and restrained emotion, and — perhaps most importantly — Brewis' wonderfully elastic and rich vocals. As with any Field Music record, there is a sense of daring and exploration throughout Sea from Shore that is both exciting and comforting. From the opening "Rockist, Pt. 1," which uses loops of Brewis' cut-up vocals, and then all throughout the record, Brewis is never content to just strum through the chord changes. Instead, there are shimmering stabs of piano, off-kilter rhythms, clattering percussion, and gently jarring guitar riffs that keep the listener off-guard and interested. Yet all the sonic trickery Brewis employs never detracts from the songs, letting the reliably stunning melodies shine through clearly. There are songs here that compare favorably to past triumphs — the four-part "Rockist" (which may be the hookiest song he's written yet), the pocket epic "Ships," and the restrained and lovely ballad "Keep Your Water," to name a few — and show that Brewis has lost none of his knack for writing pop songs that truly have some pop in them. Sea from Shore could have been a huge letdown, but instead is another wonderful record from the increasingly trustworthy Field Music family.

Customer Reviews

The Art of Rockism

Aposiopesis (a-poe-sigh-o-PEA-sis) is when you abruptly stop or fall short of completing a statement with the hopes that the message you were attempting to convey has the desired persuasive effect on the person receiving it, and "School of Language" has made this rhetorical device its personal mission statement with "Sea from Shore". It's been said that Brewis fragments bits of conversation to use as lyrics, and this seems to be apparent in the "Rockist" series: a magnificent four-part medley in which the first and last two bookend the album, each song comes across as an ex-lover’s respective recollections of the last conversation had with their estranged over a period of life in which four different emotional states of being were experienced. Keeping time with John Bonham-like drum beats, Brewis’ looped annunciation of vowels waffle between conspicuous and subtle as they blanket choppy guitars and lyrics, serving as an ambient backdrop to the listener that although perspectives seem to change with the melodies, the intimation remains the same. Sandwiched between the late night summary the "Rockist" series creates, "Sea from Shore" plays like pages being torn from a diary in no specific order. Brewis’ use of intense hooks within a style of songwriting that follows no significant structure (think "Sunny Day Real Estate’s LP2") are like brush strokes creating silhouettes on a dusking canvas. From the raw frustration in the whaling guitars and partial defiance of the bass lick in the mea culpa "Disappointment ’99", to the sailboat drifting pace of "Keep Your Water", Brewis runs the gamut of love and loss through music resembling the scattered thought process of someone who’s actually been through it, in turn creating the first must have album of 2008.

enigmatic hybrid

WOW!!! If Pink Floyd and the Beatles had a baby and Maximo Park was his Nanny, his name would be School of Language! Excellent musical nuggets, not for fingers used to tuning the f.m. knob.


very interesting and unique sound, also very versitile they transition very well from fast pasted songs to slow songs and thats an accomplishment, well done school of language


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Jump-started amid the hubbub over Field Music's rumored 2007 breakup, School of Language is the side project of Field Music's David Brewis. The project is just a touch gutsier and guitar-heavy than Field Music, but still exhibits the latter's fascination with Laurel Canyon-esque vocal harmonies and ambitious time signatures. School of Language's debut full-length, Sea from Shore, was released on Thrill Jockey (U.S.) and Memphis Industries (U.K.) in 2008. Brewis hit the road in support of the album...
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Sea from Shore, School of Language
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