Written by: Dave Cantrell
You might suspect a band begun by a music composition major while still in university would betray certain staid tendencies, a writing-for-writing’s-sake, cloistered, school project sensibility. Whereas that might be true of some under such a circumstance it’s decidedly not the case with Boston-based band Field Mouse, launched in 2010 by said student Rachel Brown with producer/musician Andrew Futral and since expanded to a foursome with the addition of rhythm section Saysha Heinzman (bass) and Tim McCoy (drums). Both vitally eager and preternaturally seasoned for a debut, there’s nothing ‘thesis’ about Hold Still Life nor this band.
Whether displaying a power ethereality to rival Pale Saints on opener “A Place You Return To In A Dream,” punching out your pop lights on the pointed churn of “Everyone But You” or channeling – after a spindly prelude – the elevated pummel and bass-fed beauty of Swervedriver on “Reina,” the band has the innate genius for infusing the vaulting fury of shoegaze with the gauzier textures of the dreampop corps that have won our hearts for much of this century, the second part of that recipe not least down to Brown’s assured voice, an instrument akin to a slightly icy Kristin Hersh and thereby perfect for this set of songs that’s strong beyond its years.
Impeccably produced and in many ways suggesting the promise of the Drop Nineteens’ “Winona” sustained over an entire record, Hold Still Life counts not only as one of this past summer’s most burning-with-promise surprises but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it crash a few lists come December as well.[find Hold Still Life, in any format, here]