[23 July 2014]
Field Mouse is a band based in New York City, and was founded in 2010 by vocalist/guitarist Rachel Browne and producer/guitarist Andrew Futral. For their latest release, Hold Still Life, the duo has expanded into a four piece, with the addition of Saysha Heinzman on bass and Tim McCoy on drums. But, boy, does this group sound at times like there could be 10 people in this band, so cacophonic is the outfit’s guitar feedback squall. But there are also quiet, tender moments sprinkled throughout Hold Still Life, and, strangely, those are the most appealing. Sounding like a caffeinated version of ‘90s alt-rock group Velocity Girl, this LP mixes the sweet and saccharine with a liberal dose of sonic storm, and is a remarkably strong and charming collection of 12 songs that seem to last a lot longer than the album’s less than 40 minute runtime would lead you to believe.
Things kick off with the paint-peeling “A Place You Return to in a Dream”, which is immediate and bracing. However, the album’s best moment comes a couple tracks later with “Two Ships”, which is noticeably quieter and jangly, and is somewhat reminiscent of “Eye of the Tiger” with its thudding and propulsive bassline. It’s a captivating piece of music. And the rest of the album holds up remarkably well, balancing lightness and darkness in equal measure. If anything, you might wish that the group could turn down the buzzy and fuzzy guitars just a tad, as the drone tends to undercut the fact that this band has stellar songwriting chops. Still, Hold Still Life is quite the slab of indie rock, and, with its agreeable female-led vocals, is very delectable. With more focus on the songs, and less guitar squawk, this could be a band that will deliver a sweet album of delicious power-pop gems.