Field Mouse's 2014 debut LP, Hold Still Life, exhibited a gauzy take on indie rock, one led by singer/guitarist Rachel Browne's articulate and melodic vocals. Taking a further step away from their shoegaze influences, the follow-up, Episodic, sees Field Mouse move toward a more coherent, if lush, indie rock. Having started out as the duo of Browne and multi-instrumentalist/producer Andrew Futral, it's also the group's first outing after expanding to a five-piece. The album kicks off with churning guitars and feedback on the lively "The Mirror." Also brightly melodic, the song's tempo invites dancing, as its component parts will encourage some amount of air drumming (as well as guitar). Not exactly descriptors for shoegaze, the track does have a stacked chorus that may be better described as atmospheric jangle. Another big chorus appears on "Beacon," which blends sustained synths, rhythm guitars, and crashing cymbals for a wall of sound behind Browne's soaring vocals. Offering a certain amount of subtle variety, "Accessory" is sparser with jazzy guitar chords, and "The Order of Things" features ultra-melodic guitar pop with a Matthew Sweet quality to the songwriting. Later, the more melancholy "Never Would Have Known" is picked up by a distorted riff and arena drums that give way to feedback at the end. On the whole, though dedicated dream pop fans may be disappointed in the adjustment to the band's sound, Episodic's energy and lush melodicism should hook its share of ears with what are, style preferences aside, solid songs.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson