The Sunderland/Newcastle axis of art rock is in full collaboration mode at the moment. The most esoteric could well be this meeting of Field Music's Peter Brewis with Maximo Park's Paul Smith. Brewis's complex chamber music compositions are a gorgeous backdrop to Smith's tales travel writing texts. It ocassionally hits dizzy heights and is nothing but interesting throughout.
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‘Frozen By Sight’ is a collaboration between Maximo Park's Paul Smith and Peter Brewis of Field Music. Perhaps not the most likely of partnerships, the two combine the best of both worlds here, though it’s a significant departure from their respective work by using a variety of disparate, musical and poetic influences.
Recorded in early 2014 at the Field Music studio in Sunderland, with co production and instrumental contributions from Peter Brewis’ brother David Brewis, each contribution is vital to every performance, particularly the dramatic precision of Ed Cross’ string quartet. Paul Smith’s familiar discourse-taken from text of his own travel writing- is underpinned by Brewis’ rich chamber-band arrangements. The results are interesting enough to listen to more than a few tracks and enjoy them, but not enough to withstand repeated listens.
The only downside here is the persistent distinctiveness of Smith’s vocals: his trademark accented style becomes a bit tiresome as the record progresses, which isn’t helped by the lethargic pace of the album. Fans of both Paul Smith and Peter Brewis will no doubt revere it, but everyone else will either love it or hate it.
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