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School Of Language
45 Nick Roseblade , July 18th, 2019 07:58

On the new School of Language album, Field Music's David Brewis takes aim at the piss president. It's a funky affair with bags of melody – but sometimes the gags wear thin, finds Nick Roseblade

As one half of Field Music David Brewis is a busy boy. As well as making music with his brother Peter, he also has a slew of side-projects. One of these is the underrated School of Language. Their new album 45 was recorded in less than two months during downtime in Field Music’s schedule is impressive. That album is a satire about Donald Trump, the dubious motley crew of characters he associates with, and US Politics. As expected, the melodies are as glorious as the punchlines are funny.

‘Nobody Knows’ is one of the standout tracks. Musically it has a gloriously funky bounce to it, but its Brewis’ falsetto croon that does much of the heavy lifting as he ventriloquises Trump listing the things he is a master of. “Nobody’s bigger or better at the military, Nobody’s done so much for equality”, “Nobody understands devaluation or knows more about the sale of uranium” and “Nobody loves the bible more than I do, Nobody knows the game more than I do”etc.

‘Rocket Man’ slows things down, with moving keyboards and driving basslines, but doesn’t let up with the lyrical scathing attack. “If he’s wrong, if he’s just saving face. There are millions of lives at stake, when we’re not just playing to win. This isn’t a game.” The subdued delivery hammers home that while this might be a game to Trump and his cohorts, their petty squabbles effect millions of people and he needs to be held accountable.

At its heart 45 is a fun album with a serious message. At times it feels like the album Prince might have made after watching too much Veep. The downside to 45, as with Trump’s whole administration, is that after a while the joke starts to wear a bit thin and you just need a break from it all.

Brewis has an almost flawless ear for melody and rhythm and it would be interesting to hear what else he can do with this sound, something that isn’t Trump related. Saying that, at just over half an hour, 45 is a tight, concise album which benefits from repeat listens. With 45 you get the impression that Brewis isn’t finished with political satire. “Here in the UK, I feel far enough removed that I can turn my revulsion into satire. I don’t think I could do the same with Brexit. It’s too close” explains Brewis. Maybe, with time, this will be 45’s logical follow up.

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