Music: an expression of humanity, escape, a soundtrack to life, deep passion….
“What a way to say fuck off.”
It’s more than the first line of the first song on Field Mouse’s stellar new record, Episodic. It’s almost like a statement from the band. The Mirror might actually be quite disarming to longtime fans of the band and their shoegaze sound. The upbeat, hella catchy dance number is almost a challenge to the hipsters to try and not enjoy themselves. It’s also anthemic! It’s an easy line to attach yourself to and I imagine it will be shouted by audiences at the band’s upcoming shows. Aside from the opening line of the record, The Mirror is a fun song. It gets me dancing every time. Rachel Browne’s vocals remind me of Jenny Lewis and the Mirror sounds like what I always wished Rilo Kiley sounded like. It’s the perfect album opener.
And yes, Field Mouse puts their best foot forward with The Mirror. But they follow it up with step after step of great song after great song. I’ve seen people comment that the album still nods at their shoegaze past, but to my ears, Field Mouse has moved past that sound. The fuzzed out guitars punctuate the bands indie pop choruses. Take the track A Widow With A Terrible Secret. The verse is a jaunty light pop track until the guitars fully kick in on the chorus and the song explodes into a power pop ballad. Sure the guitars have an almost shoegaze airy quality to them but to label it as shoegaze almost robs the track of it’s power.
Half-life follows The Mirror. It’s got a great synth line on the verse that helps give the verse a club vibe before the band rips into the chorus. Power pop is the name of the game! The Order of Sings is a beautifully clean indie pop song.
Browne’s vocals soar through the dynamic and melodic changes on Beacon, becoming the star of the track. Beacon seamlessly transitions into Over and Out, which is all sorts of sugary pop goodness. On the surface, the song sounds simple, but put on a pair of headphones and you pick up small riffs flying in and out or a moment of feedback that highlights a moment in the song. Do You Believe Me Now is a fantastic, straight forward rock and roll song that has a chorus that reminds me of mid-90’s post grunge rock. Out Of Context closes the record with some Sonic Youth esque feedback as the track slowly unwinds and brings Episodic to an end.
There are no flaws on Episodic. From upbeat pop tunes to dark indie rock songs that give the band “street cred”, Field Mouse has crafted an album full of brilliant songs. Perfect start to finish and very easily jumped to the top of my Album of the Year list. 5 out of 5 Stars!