The Field Mice: Robert Wratten (vocals, guitar); Michael Hiscock (bass instrument).
Liner Note Author: Alistair Fitchett.
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. ~ Stewart Mason