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Group Members: Harvey Williams
All Music Guide:
The flagship band of the legendary Sarah Records, the Field Mice neatly encapsulated the label's trademark wispy, lovelorn pop sound and remain among the most beloved British cult bands of their time. Debuting in 1988 with the single "Emma's House," the Field Mice were originally comprised of singer/guitarist Robert Wratten and bassist Michael Hiscock; initially dismissed in the U.K. press as little more than twee pop fluff, over the course of subsequent releases like 1989's "Sensitive" and the So Said Kay EP, the group earned not only a devout following, but also grudging critical respect, in the process becoming Sarah's best-selling band. Later growing to a quintet with the additions of guitarist Harvey Williams, keyboardist Annemari Davies, and drummer Mark Dobson, the group held fast to their label's singles-only policy (or mini-LPs) until a much-requested compilation LP, Coastal, was finally released in mid-1991; a studio album, For Keeps, appeared just a few months later. However, in the wake of a November, 1991 Glasgow live date which ended in on-stage fisticuffs, the Field Mice essentially disbanded, playing one final London farewell gig before splitting for good; Wratten, Davies, and Dobson later reunited in Northern Picture Library and Trembling Blue Stars.
The Field Mice were an English indie rock band on the indie label Sarah Records.
The Field Mice initially formed as a duo from South London suburb of Mitcham comprising Robert Wratten and Michael Hiscock. The group's first EP, Emma's House, was released in November 1988, and reached number 20 in the UK Independent Chart. But it was with their second single "Sensitive" that they first received significant critical attention, giving them a top-20 indie hit and with a subsequent placing in John Peel's 1989 Festive 50. Debut mini-album Snowball reached number 3 on the indie albums chart. The original duo were joined by Harvey Williams (of Another Sunny Day) on guitar: the first fruits of this new line-up being the Skywriting mini-LP and in late 1990 the band expanded to include Annemari Davies on vocals, keyboards and guitar and Mark Dobson on drums. This five-piece line up later recorded what was to be their final album (but their first full length for Sarah Records), For Keeps.
Over a three year career the band were often dogged with the reputation of having a post-C86 indie pop or generic Sarah Records sound despite producing tracks with numerous styles and influences. Early singles and even their sleeves harked back to early Factory Records bands such as New Order and The Wake, with many tracks often featuring sequencers and samples. Many of the group's recordings, notably "Triangle" and their epic seven-minute swan song, "Missing the Moon", displayed a strong influence from the popular dance music of the time. Most of the group's records were produced by Ian Catt, who later went on to develop the pop dance sound of "Missing The Moon" further with Saint Etienne (whose second single was a cover version of The Field Mice's "Let's Kiss and Make Up").Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 738 Lazell, Barry (1998) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p. 87 New Musical Express online feature on single 'Sensitive'. Field Mice, Keeping It Peel, BBC, retrieved 2010-04-29
Split and legacy
The band split up in 1991 after a fractious tour to promote the For Keeps album, during which lead singer/guitarist Robert Wratten announced he was leaving.
Later, Field Mice members Wratten, Annemari Davies (Wratten's ex-girlfriend), and Mark Dobson briefly formed Yesterday Sky before becoming the more synth-oriented outfit Northern Picture Library, and then Wratten went on to form Trembling Blue Stars in 1995.
A double-album compilation of the now long-deleted Field Mice releases, Where'd You Learn to Kiss That Way? was released in 1999 and sold more copies than any Field Mice record ever sold at the time. Their entire back catalogue was reissued on CD for the first time by LTM Recordings in 2005.