Field Mouse - Hold Still Life - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Field Mouse - Hold Still Life

by Jim Harris Rating:7.5 Release Date:2014-07-20

Upon first listen, I was having trouble liking Field Mouse. Rachel Browne’s voice seemed like any number of faux-innocent, toneless, flat, princess singers who sound like the offspring or baby sister of Chibi from The Birthday Massacre. Ah, I long for the day when young bands wanted a 30-something barmaid, husky voiced from pot and cigarette smoke, who just happened to have dropped out of Julliard in the day and sounds remarkably like Kim Deal.

Those days are over, I suppose. Enter the fashionably innocent-looking and singing, dead ringer for a John Carpenter movie, Rachel Browne. Add the pre-requisite dream-pop elements of plasticized guitars and strategic synth hooks, and a female bass player who looks like she probably edits Children’s literature at her day job, and you have more of these bands pouring out of Brooklyn than there are pickpockets in the trendy bars there.

But I threw all that out after the second listen. The first single off this one is ‘Two Ships’ and Rachel’s voice wavers up and down, high and low, and gets a little down occasionally, in a dark way. The riffs are bouncy dream-pop at its finest, shown best on the catchiest pop song on the album, ‘Everyone But You’. There are several other strong tracks on Hold Still Life, including ‘Tomorrow is Yesterday’ and the final track ‘Water in the Valley’, which jams out loud and pounding to end a solid release.

Throughout Hold Still Life, Field Mouse seem to be pleasantly struggling with whether they should stretch it out with the pomp and grandeur of M83 or the attitude and power-pop of Metric. While Rachel’s voice will never be confused with Emily Haines’, and Field Mouse never quite stretch it into any of the excesses of M83, what falls into their own musical space is a surprisingly complex and enjoyable dream-pop release. 

Hold Still Life does what a good album is supposed to do — get under your skin enough that you want to hear it again. Field Mouse just might be on to something here.

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