C86 Show - Indie Pop

The Field Mice special with Mark Dobson

November 12, 2019

The Field Mice special with Mark Dobson in conversation with David Eastaugh

The Field Mice initially formed as a duo from South London suburb of Mitcham comprising Robert Wratten (for vocals and guitar) and Michael Hiscock (on bass guitar). 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").

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