Uncut - p.1174 stars out of 5
- "[C]atching the group on the cusp between fragile duo and bumptious five-piece."
The Field Mice: Robert Wratten (vocals, guitar); Michael Hiscock (bass instrument).
1990's Skywriting is the divisive release in the Field Mice's catalog, the one album about which everyone has a strong opinion. To be honest, most of those opinions are negative, due almost entirely to side one of this brief album, the entirety of which is taken up by the lengthy and frankly rather dull "Triangle." An attempt to write a New Order-style dance track, "Triangle" is instead an extended exercise in robotic sequencers and a thudding electronic rhythm that goes nowhere and takes far too long to do so. (Thankfully, the otherwise comprehensive career retrospective Where'd You Learn to Kiss That Way cuts the song nearly in half, to no ill effect.) However (shades of Love's Da Capo), the five tracks on side two of Skywriting are among the best and most eclectic of the Field Mice's career, from the country-tinged acoustic lament "Canada" to the utterly mad "Humblebee," a much more effective slice of acid house pop with a chant of, "Chocolate! Love! Sex!," that rather sums up the band's world view. Their first release as a five-piece, Skywriting integrates the three new members quite neatly, giving otherwise familiar-sounding tunes such as "It Isn't Forever" and "Below the Stars" a richness missing from the thin-sounding bedroom indie pop of the earlier duo releases. Give side one a miss, treat the remainder as an EP, and you have one of the Field Mice's best efforts. ~ Stewart Mason