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Songs We Love: Field Mouse, 'The Mirror'

Field Mouse.
Shervin Lainez
/
Courtesy of the artist
Field Mouse.

The first few seconds of Field Mouse's upcoming album, Episodic, might fool you. The opening track, "The Mirror," begins with gentle, atmospheric guitar strums and a building drumbeat; then, suddenly, it explodes into a melodic, scuzzy rock song with skittering guitars and a demanding rhythm. "What a way to say 'f*** off,'" sings Rachel Browne. What a way to kick off an album.

Browne's self-assured vocals and poetic chops were notable in the band's debut album, Hold Still Life, but they were sometimes buried under layers of fuzz. On Episodic, it's easier to appreciate Browne's knack for melody and careful syntax. At times, Episodic sounds just as airy and shoegazey as the band's debut, but the filled-out sound seems more considered this time around. This is Field Mouse's first time writing an album start-to-finish as a quintet (including founding member Andrew Futral on guitar, Saysha Heinzman on bass, Tim McCoy on drums and Zoë Browne on synths). As a result, the band sounds better defined and more intentional, benefiting from complementary guitars and spacious synthesizers.

<em>Episodic</em> (Topshelf 2016).
/ Courtesy of the artist
/
Courtesy of the artist
<em>Episodic</em> (Topshelf 2016).

"The Mirror" pulses with a frustrated energy, radiating a sharp bitterness about being mistreated. In an email to NPR, Browne describes it as one among a few honest and angry "dissolution-of-relationship" songs on the album. "You want to see ego?" she sneers in the song's chorus, "I've held it up enough." The anger in Browne's voice mounts throughout the song; she lets out a quick laugh before the first chorus, but by its final iteration, her voice almost cracks with passion over the whirring guitars and driving rhythm. By the time the song ends, the catharsis feels complete; the band is ready to tell off the next wrongdoer.

Episodic comes out August 5 on Topshelf Records.

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