The Field Mice was an indie pop/twee band from London. They were active between 1987 and 1991. They released three albums, then had a nasty split after their final record. The band split into Northern Picture Library and Trembling Blue Stars.
Tonight’s song comes from the debut album, and was in fact the first song on that album. You might recognize it because St. Etienne did a cover of it in 1991 on their album Foxbase Alpha. I actually heard the St. Etienne version first, then I was blown away when I finally heard the original many years later.
I didn’t learn about The Field Mice until 1999 or so. I can’t be sure of the date, but I do know that my introduction to them was the compilation double CD Where’d You Learn to Kiss That Way?, which was released in 1998. This was a big deal to long-time Field Mice fans because their entire catalog was out of print and deleted from the Sarah Records archives. Sarah Records helped put the “C-86 scene” on the map, and when they closed up, Shinkansen Records rose from its ashes. Many of the Sarah Records bands went on to make records for Shinkansen.
The two-disc set is essentially a retrospective of the entire Field Mice catalog, packaged quite nicely with a pretty sweet booklet to boot. It was a great introduction to a band that I didn’t but should have already known.
One bit of trivia about this band is that Patrick Hannan, who would later become the drummer for The Sundays, tried out to be The Field Mice’s drummer.
There’s quite a bit of good stuff in this retrospective, but my favorite of them all is “Let’s Kiss and Make Up”. I woke up with it in my head this morning, so I’m waiting until the eleventh hour to make it the song of the day. Without further ado, here it is:
“Let’s Kiss and Make Up” by The Field Mice
What I love so much about this song is the flange-y guitar. And I love how for the bulk of the song, the only drum is the bass drum. However, there are a few bursts of snare fill, and it’s really amazing when those burst in, like at 3:47. Also, the guitar is really flange-y and jangly for most of the song, but 5:25, it’s a much more dream-pop guitar. It gets really Pale Saints-ish for the last 30 seconds of the song. That alone might make it worth the price of admission.
Snowball is out of print and deleted, but it was reissued in 2005 with bonus tracks and all that jazz. I would recommend getting the Where’d You Learn to Kiss That Way? compilation, but it’s out of print and even the mp3 downloads are expensive. Still, though. It might be worth it for you. Check it out here.