Leaders in their own Field

It’s always great discovering new bands and artists but usually, when it comes down to it, if asked to name your favourites you go back to those things you’ve always held dear.

I know very little has even come close to penetrating my own virtual closed shop of acts since about 1989.

Of course there are bands I’ve really liked since then. The Mondays, Oasis, The Beastie Boys and Nirvana would all comfortably get into a top 20 for instance but they’re not displacing Prince, the Bunnymen, The Smiths, The Clash and Sly & the Family Stone in the all-time top five.

Bubbling just under but still in the top ten would be The Stone Roses, Public Enemy, The Beatles and The Jam, with the last place a musical heavyweight contest over 12 rounds between Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson.

The Roses, to be fair, are just clinging on and it’s entirely based on what they did in one two-year spell.

Now I can’t say quite the same about my top ten singles which have always been more of a moveable feast – although Kiss, Tears of a Clown, The Last Time and the double A-side of Fools Gold/What The World is Waiting For are always inked in. The other six spots are regularly up for grabs.

Now all of this preamble has a point.

And it’s this.

The more I hear and see Field Music, the more I think they’re moving up both charts. In their own unassuming, understated and undemonstrative fashion they are a climber in the way that songs and acts used to rise up the top 40.

Last Saturday I saw them again at The People’s Concert at Manchester’s Albert Hall and I thought they were up two places to this week’s number 16.


Despite a 10-minute delay to replace a broken snare mid-set they were sheer quality. Of course, opinions vary and Gill, who was with me, declared them `not all that’ and preferred Dutch Uncles who were on the bill immediately before them.

Where I thought they scored over Dutch Uncles was in the memorable tune stakes. The Uncles were eminently watchable and listenable but it all sounded like really good album tracks when what usually makes a difference is a song or two you can’t stop singing, humming or whistling.

In The Noisy Days are Over, Field Music have just such a song and it threatens to become a my top ten mainstay*, plus there are others that, while not in that exalted company, you can hold close to your heart.

They have that simplicity and assurance that marks out anyone who is any good at anything. Footballers with time on the ball, cricketers with an uncomplicated technique and bands who make clever songwriting sound ridiculously easy when, obviously, it’s the complete opposite.

It’s fair to say that they occupy the space of current favourite band and, in the unlikely event of new and/or meaningful releases from much of the top 20, they’re likely to hold that position for a while.

*This morning the all-time top ten was:


Tears of a Clown

Paperback Writer

Fools Gold/What the World is Waiting For

The Last Time

Totally Wired

The Noisy Days are Over

Everyday People

Upside Down (the Diana Ross song, not the Jesus and Mary Chain one)

This Charming Man





One thought on “Leaders in their own Field

  1. widnesian November 13, 2017 / 5:49 pm

    I love Field Music but am unlikely to see them live as they don’t do much business out here in the colonies. That said, they’re great lovers of LP records and I have purchased everything they’ve done so far on record, including pre-ordering the new one (with postcards and a tea towel!), as well as owning stuff from three different side projects and an instrumental film score.
    And I was thinking of my top five artists only last night, and if pushed up against a bus I would choose; The Beatles, Pet Shop Boys, Joni Mitchell, XTC, and Madness, although not necessarily in that order.
    But I’m also with Stephin Merritt, and I generally don’t do favourites.

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