Dream pop entrancement with snarling, grunge-rooted attitude.
Label: Topshelf Records
Released: 5th August 2016
Field Mouse are a band who’ve continued to grow since their inception. Formed as a duo by lead singer Rachel Browne and guitarist Andrew Futral in 2010, they’d doubled up to become a four-piece by the time of their debut LP, 2014’s ‘Hold Still Life’. Album two sees them go another step further as they not only add a fifth member in Browne’s sister Zoë, but also bring in Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis, Swearin’ and Waxahatchee’s Allison Crutchfield, and Cymbals Eat Guitars’ Joseph D’Agostino for guest appearances. At the end of the day, if you could, why on earth wouldn’t you?
Recorded with Joe Reinhart of Hop Along, ‘Episodic’ is the result of a band-producer match made in heaven. Comparisons between Field Mouse and Hop along, though, would be somewhat lazy, even if the two do seem to share an affinity for the fuzzier side of things. This is a group with a distinct identity, one which comes from an inspired interweaving of dream pop entrancement with snarling, grunge-rooted attitude. It’s quite the captivating concoction.
Though the sense of the lyrics does occasionally get frustratingly lost when Browne’s vocals veer from their usual delicate course, into a drawl that’s just a touch too drowsy, or even towards something approaching aggression, the inherent emotiveness of the music holds strong throughout. ‘Episodic’ flows as a continuation of undulations in tone and intensity, both inter and intra-song. Instant earworm ‘The Mirror’ opens proceedings as a blissful adrenaline rush, before ‘Half-Life’ subdues things – only to soon explode into something equally invigorating. It’s a similar theme for the remaining 25 or so minutes of dream-grunge delight. And if dream-grunge wasn’t already a thing, then Field Mouse have bloody well made it one. Tom Hancock