Field Mouse Give Voice to The Feelings of Summer on ‘Episodic’
I’m in the middle of my first paid vacation from work, and I’ve spent the majority of my time floating around the pool in my backyard on an American flag float in hot pink shorts, drinking some mediocre powdered lemonade, and falling in love with the new Field Mouse record. I’ve been passively listening to Episodic for a little over a month now — and even though the initial listens were sporadic, I think I’ve finally hit my sweet-spot with the record. These are ten of the warmest and most inviting pop songs that you’re going to hear this year — I can promise you that. And just in case my word doesn’t hold enough weight, I’m going to ask that you [re]visit “The Mirror” and get back to me.
If there’s one clear takeaway from Episodic, it’s that Field Mouse have mastered their brand of scuzzy pop music. It’s not pristine enough for the top 40 naysayers to look down their nose at it and it’s not so scuzzy that it couldn’t exist in that realm. Mid-tempo songs like the dreamy “Half Life” or the incredibly Summery –to the point that a Sheryl Crow comparison feels not only apt, but necessary– “The Order of Things”could easily get the Gotye treatment and could, by the power of greyskull, hopefully usher in the era of Liz Phair inspired pop music that we’ve all been low-key yearning for. The latter has the kind of vibe that’s perfect for windows down drives and sing-a-long’s, which are essentially guaranteed with a hook as instantly memorable as “In the order of things, where is my place?” The ball is in your court, world.
A big part of what makes this record great is the duality of it. You can get just as much from this record if you chose to put it on as background music as you would if you were to try and dig a deeper than the surface level. Surface level Episodic is full of hooks, earwormy vocal melodies, and is the perfect record to get a sunburn to. Trust me. You’re going to find yourself melted into a pool float, lawn-chair, or what have you once you get hit with the power block of “The Order of Things,” “A Widow With a Terrible Secret,” and “Beacon.” Below the surface is an album with impeccable songwriting and perfect pop structure that is just itching to be heard. It’s compelling and driving without ever having to get above a mid-tempo groove — something Field Mouse surely won’t get enough credit for. I’ve given my fair share of time to shoegaze records that, to no avail, claimed to do the same.
The Field Mouse Twitter bio should read mastery level engineers of dreamy scuzz pop because that is the best elevator pitch for this band. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a world where the likes of Liz Phair and Sheryl Crow have dominated the airwaves, and if any one band is going to bring this back to the forefront, it’s going to be this one. Episodic is a fun, Summery record that truly shines in that environment. So break out the sunscreen, pour that crystal light into your store-brand water bottle, and press play. You won’t regret it.