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A review of...
You Tell Me by You Tell Me
You Tell Me is a collaboration between Peter Brewis from Field Music and Sarah Hayes from Admiral Fallow. It's been about a year since the last Field Music album, and a couple of months since Admiral Fallow co-composed and performed an opera (Navigate The Blood), and in the crazy world of these restless Northern musicians, that's a hole that needs plugging. But this isn't just a quick detour or knockabout, it's about as fully formed and ambitious as you'd expect from their combined previous form. There's complicated song structures, soaring (and subtle) strings arrangements and folk harmonies, it's a full blown album with a full band sound.
On "No Hurry" the duo veer towards the much maligned soft rock sound that Field Music have flirted with but never quite dived into with two (or four) feet. Then there's the odd track like "Get Out of the Room" which is the exact kind of weird pop which could have been slotted right into Field Music last album. As a whole though this album is a different beast, not fully conforming to either party's rule book (if they even have one).
There are two mid album highlights, which I feel sum up the bold dynamic of this record. On "Clarion Call" Hayes' piano and wonderful vocal are centre stage for most of the track, quietly confident and epic when required (fitting seeing as the pair met at a Kate Bush celebration concert), the ultra-uplifting chorus is just the icing on the cake. Then there's "Jouska" which, again, begins with Hayes and a piano, but this time they stick within a fully classical realm (maybe spurred on by the aforementioned opera and Field Music's recent orchestral collaborations) to startling and beautiful effect. There's not many pop groups working with such ambitious classical arrangements on a shoestring budget (Meilyr Jones' superb 2013 album is one of the few exceptions I can think of), but You Tell Me are certainly excelling in the field.
A fine collaboration which hopefully won't be a one-off.