Hold Still Life – Field Mouse (Top Shelf Records) reviewed by Dave Franklin

10392271_10152553124948798_3217825756981581143_nAlbums should grab you from the off, entice you, draw you in and wrap you up in their own musical plane of existence. Field Mouse must be aware of this because from the opening hook of A Place You Return To In A Dream I was smitten. Its blend of rapturous, shimmering yet structured shoegazery took me back to a host of great bands from my own formative post-punk days, when Bunnymen echoed, Icicles worked, The Church were surprisingly anti-establishment and Lush were just that. After such a glorious opening salvo you can do nothing less than settle down and wait for the rest of the songs to wash over you, which they do like a sonic tsunami.

 

Although the term shoegaze implies a certain looseness, ethereality and experimental progression that would normally take the music away from conventional structures, Field Mouse seem able to capture all those elements without straying away from recognisable song forms or hooks, of which there are many and used to great effect. By the time we get to Everyone But You, a slightly grunged out element comes into play as warped and overdriven guitars spar with searing white hot riffs. The results are nothing short of majestic.

 

Hold Still Life is a wonderful tapestry of dream pop soundscaping, introvert shoegazing, the occasional grunge work out, dark and emotive vocals and razor wire riffs occasionally appearing between meshes of wonderfully warm and warped guitar. The word here is texture, like an exotic hand made Persian rug, musical lines are warped and wefted to wonderful effect and despite the riot of colour, nothing is wasted, no one thread obscures another, the complex beauty is apparent for all to see.

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