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School Of Language — Old Fears (2014)

 School Of Language — Old Fears (7th April, 2014)

GBR Flag         School Of Language — Old Fears
Location: Sunderland, UK
Album release: 7th April, 2014
Record Label: Memphis Industries
Duration:     34:36
01 Distance Between     3:10
02 A Smile Cracks     3:49
03 Suits Us Better     3:37
04 Between The Suburbs     2:56    
05 Old Fears     2:32
06 Dress Up     3:11    
07 Moment of Doubt     3:06
08 Small Words     3:26
09 So Much Time     3:27
10 You Kept Yourself     5:22
2014 Memphis Industries
Label description:
♦   The new School Of Language album is called Old Fears and it’s set for release on Memphis Industries on 7 April 2014.
♦   Old Fears. Here each song has been honed and polished into something pure, like a vast block of marble chiselled down into a perfectly tiny delicate egg of Fabergé-esque perfection. Recorded throughout 2013 in Field Music’s studio on the banks of the River Wear in Sunderland, synth flourishes sit alongside the staccato jarring guitars of ‘A Smile Cracks’ and the metronomic rhythms of ‘Dress Up’. Like a Ballard novel or a George Shaw painting, ‘Between The Suburbs’ offers perhaps the most lyrical and poetic moment, where “Dogs chase patterns, play to attention / Bulbs glare on greasy roads…”.
♦   The title track meanwhile is reminiscent of the haunting giallo film scores of Goblin or kosmische music at its most moving while ‘Moment Of Doubt’ displays shades of Brian Eno and Robert Wyatt. Other oblique influences come in the form of early Justin Timberlake and N*E*R*D albums, “a bunch of disco records”, Canadian experimentalist Sandro Perri, Dr John, Fela Kuti and Shalamar.
♦   Old Fears. A haunted collection that occupies a strange, hazy hinterland of permanent gloaming. One where snatched melodies pass each one another like cars gliding by at night on their way back to the silent suburbs. These are polished pieces composed without contrivance. Old Fears. An album that is neither retrogressive or futurist, but simply anchored in the moment.
♦   * School of Language is the nom de plume of David Brewis, a member of Mercury Prize-nominated pop group Field Music. His first album as School of Language sea from shore was released to wide acclaim in 2008. A pop polymath, the past twelve months have also seen David assemble and play in Eleanor Friedberger’s touring band, do production work for Maximo Park, Futureheads-affiliates rivals, pea sea and a collaboration between brother Peter Brewis and Paul Smith, as well as remixes for dutch uncles, the ralfe band and Phoenix foundation. He has also performed a score for 1929 silent documentary drifters (and will be again at the aldeburgh festival on 1 february) and composed pieces inspired by books shortlisted for the inaugural Gordon Burn literary prize. Ben Myers / January 2014
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fieldmusicmusic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fieldmusic
Label: http://www.memphis-industries.com/artist/school-of-language/
by Randy Reynolds | 10 February 2014
♦   Not since 2008’s Sea from Shore have we heard from David Brewis’ beloved side project, School of Language. To be fair, the Brewis brothers were busy with two Field Music releases during the hiatus with 2010’s Measure and Plumb in 2012. The new album entitled, Old Fears, trades in SOL’s gritty charm for smooth intricacy. Continuing with the theme first established on their first LP with “Rockist Part 1”, the songs “Suits Us Better” and “Moment of Doubt” use intriguing backing vocals as a platform for mellow verses and striking guitar. The album’s first single, “Between the Suburbs”, is strongly reminiscent of tracks found on Duran Duran’s Rio album without the droll pretense, while “Dress Up” and “So Much Time” suggest Melt-era Peter Gabriel. For those who like their pop filled with bits of prog, pining synths and anxious guitars, look no further than Old Fears. Fortaken: http://www.bigtakeover.com/
By Jonny Abrams | Published on March 18th, 2014
♦   School of Language is the ‘brainchild’ of David Brewis of Field Music, whose Plumb LP topped our list of 2012′s top 100 albums.
♦   What a whirlwind year that was for Field Music, too — a Mercury nomination, constant touring, incessant promo…  — and these exertions have evidently shaped a set of songs that sound considerably less like Field Music than first School of Language LP Sea from Shore.
♦   Old Fears sounds surprisingly sparse and minimalist while subtly loading the mix with busy little elements that interlink and interact like the mechanics of a ping pong machine. No proggy time signature tricks here, and yet it’s a darn sight less immediate than Brewis’s usual fare.
♦   Rubbery synths flutter in and out of opening pair “Distance Between” and “A Smile Cracks”, understated beatboxing and low, lazy backing vocals prop up the lightly mournful “Suits Us Better”…so unified of sound is Old Fears, as it happens, that it’s not until sixth track “Dress Up” that something approaching good vibes radiates from it.
Not that it sounds despondent, mind — aside from Brewis’s slightly haunted-sounding falsetto, some of it is actually quite playful. Take for example the panned-either-side call-and-response backing vocal motif within “Moment of Doubt”, which sounds like a more monastic take on Sea from Shore opener “Rockist Part 1″. It’s a neat studio trick.
♦   “Moment of Doubt” also flaunts some ace loping drums that could be programmed or sampled but conceivably are real, such are Brewis’s considerable talents as a multi-instrumentalist.
♦   Despondency does eventually take hold with the sombre piano and lachrymose lead guitar of closing track “You Kept Yourself”…well, perhaps ‘ruefulness’ is a better word to use here, as per lyrics like “You kept yourself as much from yourself as you did from me, or so it turned out” and the read-into-it-what-you-will “It makes no sense to go home”.
♦   “You Kept Yourself” then takes a melodic twist in its brief snatch of chorus, hinting at the warm glow of Field Music at their prog-pop finest, before letting loose with a sax as the album drifts off into well-earned slumber.
♦   It’s not exactly David Brewis’s most immediate work, and as such represents an ill-advised starting point for the uninitiated, but there’s still so much to reward the closer inspection of repeated airings. (http://rocksucker.co.uk/)

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