The most focused and full they've sounded yet.Label: Topshelf Records
Released: August 5th 2016
Skimming the usual echoing pools of sound, the Brooklyn dream-poppers' second album 'Hold Still Life' pushed Rachel Browne's vocals to the front, a delicate confection cutting through the haze. Two years on, ramping up the fuzzy, melodic edges even more, Field Mouse roar out of the traps with 'The Mirror', alternately glistening and bristling. Picking through the shards of a shattered relationship, Browne coos "You want to see ego?," before she throws the looking-glass down. "I've held it up enough," she snaps.
It's a giddy sucker-punch, kicking off the first album the band have conceived from scratch as a five-piece - the most focused and full they've sounded yet. There's the propulsive 'A Widow with a Terrible Secret', sharpened and driven home by crunching, abrupt left turns. Or 'Never Would Have Known', which layers lush harmonies over scuzzy, squealing guitar. And 'Beacon', which builds from a rumbling, subdued intro to a warm, hopeful light in the dark - "Today was different, because I made it so".
By adding to the sparse, shoegazing two-piece template of Browne and guitarist Andrew Futral, they've arrived at a sweetly brittle grunge-pop. Cozily familiar, yes, but never uninventive, with the jerky stop-starts of 'Do You Believe Me Now?' or the fizzing, fractured synths of the yearning 'Half-Life' keeping things interesting.
Best of all, there's the slow-burning 'Out of Context' and the gleeful bounce of 'The Order of Things', one of the best throw-yourself-around-an-indie-disco songs in a while. Whether it's down to new members, or just the benefit of six years' experience, Field Mouse really click on 'Episodic'. It'll be interesting to see where they go from here. Rob Mesure