The Week That Was record is fantastic.
I've always been a big Field Music fan, however I've often found the relentless melodic modulations very frustrating, particularly over the course of an entire album, and the sonic palette has always seemed a little weak and one-dimensional: the adventurousness of the music itself not really done justice by a relatively trad instrumental line-up.
The School of Language album seemed to replicate these shortcomings (augmented them, even), but TW2 seems to have channelled all the restless cerebrality of the first two Field Music albums into something a lot more compact, focused, and ultimately engaging.
There is a wonderful colourful variety of tone here: marimba and archaic synth intertwining beautifully on the gamelan-esque 'It's All Gone Quiet', brutalist machinistic drumming meeting a spiky string arrangement head-on in 'The Airport Line', female b-vox supplying nice pentatonic interludes, 'Sound and Vision'-style, on album high-point 'Come Home'.
Production-wise, TW2 is also a big improvement on the retro mustiness that often left Field Music offerings sounding slightly wet. Everything is just a little bit punchier, drums and acoustic guitars in particular, with each instrument granted a crystal-cut hi-fi autonomy, which in turn emphasises the eclectic daring of the arrangements.
Length must also be a factor. The Field Music b-sides collection Write Your Own History still seems like their best record, partly because it's only half an hour or so long. TW2 is similarly brief, a fact that compounds the sense of ideas reigned-in and fused with a very welcome new-found immediacy.
Why not 'That Was the Week That Was' though? Can't help feeling they pussied-out on that one.