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Snowball

The Field Mice

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Album Review

The Field Mice's first album (and one of the first non-7" releases on the nascent Sarah Records label), 1989's Snowball leads off with "Let's Kiss and Make Up," probably the duo's best-known song thanks to Saint Etienne's cover on 1991's Foxbase Alpha. It's fitting that Saint Etienne scored the hit with their sparkling, danceable version, as it's simply a better use of the song. The Field Mice's own version is over-extended at over six minutes (the first two and a half of them devoted to an extended instrumental intro) and Robert Wratten sings it as if he's barely awake. The album picks up considerably from that somnambulant opener, going into a stretch of songs more akin to the minor-key jangle of their earlier EPs, with the mournful "Couldn't Feel Safer" a particular highlight. Toward the end of the album, Wratten and co-mouse Michael Hiscock venture into more experimental territory with a pair of songs that prefigure the more electronic vibe of their next album, 1990's Skywriting. "White" is a five-minute exploration into My Bloody Valentine's circa-Isn't Anything phased-guitars-and-clatter style, with Wratten singing like a slightly less-zombified Bilinda Butcher, while the heavily sequenced "Letting Go" sounds like an attempt to jump the Madchester bandwagon.

Biography

Formed: 1988 in Surrey, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

The flagship band of the legendary Sarah Records, the Field Mice neatly encapsulated the label's trademark wispy, lovelorn pop sound and remain among the most beloved British cult bands of their time. Debuting in 1988 with the single "Emma's House," the Field Mice were originally comprised of singer/guitarist Robert Wratten and bassist Michael Hiscock; initially dismissed in the U.K. press as little more than twee pop fluff, over the course of subsequent releases like 1989's "Sensitive" and the So...
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