Album review: Field Mouse

Hold Still Life (Topshelf Records)

INDIE MUSIC, in its ‘classic’ sense is the union of two seemingly disparate and incompatible forms into a whole that, in practice, ends up making perfect sense.

That union is the abrasive atonality of distortion and feedback with pop hooks and a keen appreciation for and employment of melody. No matter how dense a wall of sound the guitars create, the melodiousness of the vocals are never subsumed, only complemented.

It is a sound pioneered by Ireland’s own My Bloody Valentine and which became known by the early 1990s as shoegaze. Recently young indie bands have been exploring that period again, introducing shoegaze’s pleasures to a new generation and reminding an older one of a favourite genre.

American quartet Field Mouse, like their English contemporaries Yuck! are firmly in this category and their debut album Hold Still Life unashamedly wears its MBV, Lush, Ride, and Breeders influences on its sleeve, but through that, delivers the most delightful 12-song collection of bittersweet, 20-something mini-dramas and melancholy.

There is a confessional quality to the lyrics of singer and band leader Rachel Browne, allowing for emotional investment by the listener.

The music is melodic but muscular, not afraid to explore quiet/loud dynamics (‘Everyone But You’, the sublime ‘Asteroid’ ), while classic rock riffs are re-imagined for the indie audience (‘Water In The Valley’ ), and sweet melodies bath in a wall of sound distortion (‘Reina’ ). A promising debut. 



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