NN PICKS: School Of Language, The Deaf Institute, 28/4/2014

School of Language

David Brewis, formerly of the Mercury Prize nominated indie band Field Music, returns to the north in support of his recently released sophomore album Old Fears with his project School of Language.  The date at the Deaf Institute will be the last of several UK dates and marks the first emergence of new School of Language material since their debut 2008 album Sea From Shore.

Old Fears is released via Memphis Industries, a British independent record label home to the likes of Dutch Uncles and Brewis’ former band Field Music.  The indie pop album consists of Brewis’ silky smooth vocals and a combination of the instrumental prowess of brother Peter Brewis on drums, fellow former Field Music member Andrew Lowther on bass, Andrew Mitchell of the Hazy Janes on guitar and David Craig of the Futureheads on synth.   It features ten tracks with simple titles that seem to inhibit the perfect context of the song within, from ‘Moment of Doubt’ to ‘So Much Time’.   The shimmering quiet pop of the album brings forth the best from Brewis’ Field Music past, albeit stripped back and full of soft yet deliberate musing.

The tour supports new singles ‘Dress Up’ and ‘Between the Suburbs’, both cleverly textured songs featuring Brewis’ identifiable falsetto, the former with a quirky video to match.  ‘Dress Up’, which features a tour of the Sunderland coastal town and a bag of chips from a local haunt, frames later song ‘Between the Suburbs’ which muses about life in such a place.  Each track appears to emulate a photograph from Brewis’ life; a snapshot into a certain kind of ache while at home.  Old Fears takes the listener on a journey that begins on fairly upbeat synth rhythms and ends with the driftless fade of ‘You Kept Yourself’, contemplating the time that Brewis sings ‘stretches from sleep to sleep’.

Old Fears reflects Brewis’ keenness not to remain stagnant- he’s been cited in interviews for his reluctance to rely on playing the same sets time after time, and his multiple projects reveal a continued desire for growth rather than a lack of focus.  Although he’s claimed to “make music about not feeling connected”, any listen to the tracks of Old Fears will feel the universal impact of Brewis having brought to the surface all the ‘old fears’ and everyday sentiments we all feel while being alive in any particular time.


The Deaf Institute – 28/4/2014

Words by Ruby Hoffman (@RubybHoffman).

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