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Album Review

Northern Picture Library's debut is largely impulsive, frayed, and capable of creating an affecting, almost inactive atmosphere. Sandwiched in between the on-stage self-destruction of the Field Mice and the creation of Trembling Blue Stars, Alaska underplayed indie traditionalism as it took an unexpected, interesting tenure into dream-based ambient pop. Annemari Davies and Robert Wratten's compositions were frequently free of guitars, lyrics, or drums. By avoiding an emphasis on found sound, however, songs like "Glitter Spheres" and "Skylight" were also connective and built from melody, while "Dreams and Stars and Sleep" seemed to anticipate the predatory, childlike dub gospel of Saint Etienne's Sound of Water and Dusted's When We Were Young. Northern Picture Library would break up soon after its release, but Alaska's better moments, its quieter moments, were some of the more memorable, most overlooked yields of all of the Field Mice's offshoots.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

Formed from the ashes of the beloved Sarah Records band the Field Mice, Northern Picture Library reunited the group's frontman Robert Wratten and keyboardist/vocalist Annemari Davies, who together pursued a more ambient, trip-hop-flavored aesthetic than in their former incarnation. After releasing a handful of tracks under the name Yesterday Sky, Wratten and Davies formed Northern Picture Library in 1993 after the addition of drummer and fellow Field Mice alum Mark Dobson, soon debuting with the...
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Top Albums and Songs by Northern Picture Library

Alaska, Northern Picture Library
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