The Field Mice Biography

Formed in Surrey, England, in 1987 by principal songwriter Robert Wratten (5 August 1966, Carshalton, Surrey, England; guitar/vocals) and Mark Dobson (b. 27 April 1965, Hartlepool, England; drums), the Field Mice linked up with Bristol-based Sarah Records for a series of records that unwittingly pigeonholed both band and label as exponents of whimsical, sensitive pop songs. With the label’s initial independent idealism - which manifested itself in seven inch-only releases in the era of 12-inch singles and compact disc singles - merely adding fire to cynics’ vitriol. The Field Mice established a small yet fanatical following that spread as far as Japan, by virtue of gently struck acoustic guitars and lyrics of the decidedly lovelorn variety. The line-up was expanded by the arrival of labelmate Harvey Williams (b. 31 December 1965, Cornwall, England; guitar), who had previously worked under the name Another Sunny Day. It was unfortunate that the prejudice of the music business ensured that the Field Mice remained condemned to the periphery even though the band was furthering their eclectic tastes by developing a penchant for danceable electronics (‘Triangle’) and experimental noise (‘Humblebee’). This was in spite of contemporary crossover outfit Saint Etienne taking the Field Mice into the nation’s clubs by covering the band’s ‘Let’s Kiss And Make Up’ single. In 1990, the trio became a quintet with the arrival of Michael Hiscock (b. 24 February 1966, Carshalton, Surrey, England; bass) and Annemari Davies (b. 9 February 1971, Oxfordshire, England; guitar/keyboards). Having previously only issued material on 7-inch and mini-albums (including the 10-inch Snowball), it was not until 1991 that the band released their first full albums. The first, Coastal, was a retrospective and For Keeps, a mature collection that promised much in the future. However, after the release of the acclaimed ‘Missing The Moon’, the Field Mice’s frustrating reluctance to pursue a potentially rewarding higher profile, and a growing estrangement with their label, eventually led to the band dissolving in November 1991. Wratten resurfaced in the late-90s as part of the Trembling Blue Stars.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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