gullbuy music review

The Field Mice


Skywriting + Singles




Skywriting CD coverSkywriting was The Field Mice's follow-up to Snowball, originally released in 1990. This special edition adds all the songs from two EPs that came out during the same period, The Autumn Store and So Said Kay.

Opening song Triangle is worth the price of the disc alone, and the fact that this is a two CD set for the same price as a single CD makes this an easy choice to snatch up from your local record shop (though truth be told I think the Snowball + Singles CD is more satisfying).

This record added more of a sweeping synth sound, kind of like Howard Devoto's band Magazine used on their first record (listen to Clearer and be convinced). I'm not crazy for the sweeping synth sound, so songs like It Isn't Forever are only saved by the intense guitar break at the end and the steady as always drums and bass.

But even fans of 'the beat' such as myself can't resist a song as starkly intimate as Below The Stars. Just beautiful - the tambourine strike once every four measures is hypnotic. Below The Stars is my personal favorite slow Field Mice song.

Humblebee IS pure hypnosis. It is a 6:30 track that reminds me of the scene in Easy Rider where Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper trip in a New Orleans graveyard with Karen Black and friend as escorts. As Annemari Davies repeats Chocolate Love Sex over and over all sorts of voice snippets drift in and out as a psychedelic miasma. Humblebee is unique in the Field Mice songbook. It is not a song, it is a sound collage. I love to play this song on the air, but with 4 instances of curses you have to fade the track for these intervals: 1:02-1:03, 1:26-1:27, 1:34-1:35, and 2:39-2:40).

None of the songs from the So Said Kay EP are my favorites. Moving to the second CD, I love both tracks from part 1 of The Autumn Shore 7inch, and the first song on the companion Part 2 single. None of the bonus tracks from out takes and compilations are my favorites. The song Right As Rain, an out take from The Autumn Store sessions, has a guitar riff that is a dead ringer for Beatles Paperback Writer, which is probably why it was pulled.

My faves:
CD1: 1,5,4
CD2: 3,2,1

---Carl, February 15, 2005