The Band: The Field Mice was Bobby Wratten’s first band. They began as a duo formed by himself on guitar and vocals, and Michael Hiscock on bass. They were school-friends from Mitcham, and released their first single (Emma’s House) on Sarah Records in 1988. Later they expanded to a five-piece (adding Harvey Williams – Another Sunny Day – on guitar, Annemari Davis on vocals/keyboards, and Mark Dobson on drums) and recorded six more singles and four albums, with influences from early Factory bands such as New Order and The Wake, early Creation and dance and ambient fields. When The Field Mice split, Bobby’s new project was Northern Picture Library, involving Annemari and Mark. They recorded two singles and an album for Vinyl Japan, and then returned to Sarah for their final two 7”s, Paris and Last September’s Farewell Kiss.
In 1994 the band stopped and, two years later, Bobby started Trembling Blue Stars, a solo project whose Abba On The Jukebox was released in April 1996, followed by the first album, Her Handwriting. The following full-length releases (Lips That Taste Of Tears, Broken By Whispers) received amazing reviews and the latter was released in the U.S. by SubPop.
In 2001, Trembling Blue Stars’ fourth album, Alive To Every Smile, is released, and it has a new line-up with a lot of ex-Sarah Records folks in the ranks: Keris Howard from Brighter, Beth Arzy from Aberdeen and Harvey Williams of Another Sunny Day, as well as the The Field Mice themselves. In 2004 arrived Seven Autumn Flowers, followed by The Last Holy Writer in 2007, but in 2010 the band announced their dissolution with Fast Trains And Telegraph Wires. Was it the end of the story? No!
At the end of 2014 Bobby Wratten was back on the scene with Lightning In A Twilight Hour, this time with the help of Beth Arzy and Michael Hiscock. On November 17th, The Memory Museum was released and the EP Slow Motion arrived in February 2015 and for April of that same year they released their first full-length, Fragments Of A Former Moon.
With 2016’s EP And All The Ships At Sea the project became more and more experimental, connecting the old Wratten’s distinctive sound to ambient and electronic music. In 2017 Quiet Actions was a cassette with only two long ambient composition, which confirmed the shift in Bobby Wratten’s music.
The Circling Of The Seasons/ Neuchâtel
Six years after his last release for Elefant Records, Bobby Wratten’s Lightning In A Twilight Hour returns. Produced in association with long term collaborator Ian Catt, The Circling Of The Seasons / Neuchâtel trailer (but do not feature on) the forthcoming second album. Bobby and Ian, that have worked together since the first ever recordings of The Field Mice, are supported by Anne Mari Davies, Beth Arzy and Michael Hiscock.
The open tuned guitars and layered harmonies of the A-side, The Circling Of The Seasons, belong to the more pop influenced end of the musical spectrum. The B-side, Neuchâtel, on the other hand, ventures into darker waters. A distorted single chord and a broken up wordless vocal creating a mood piece: the two sides of Lightning In A Twilight Hour on a single record. This stand-alone white vinyl 7″ sets the scene for the forthcoming sophomore album, Overwintering, due in the next few weeks. But we just couldn’t wait!
The Album: Overwintering is the new album from Lightning In A Twilight Hour, a collection of eleven songs overseen in collaboration with Ian Catt. Both Anne Mari Davies and Michael Hiscock from THE FIELD MICE feature throughout this latest addition to Bobby’s discography. Also present is Beth Arzy. While some songs entered the studio fully formed, more than half of Overwintering began life as purely musical landscapes before beginning a journey.
With a painting by renowned writer and musician David Toop adorning the sleeve, Overwintering will be released on April 1st 2022 on Elefant Records.
01. Lincoln Green
03. Leaf Fall Is Over
04. Perfumed Meadows Of May Snow
05. The Cinematographer As Painter
06. Her Own Refrain
07. In Sacred Groves Of Hawthorn
08. White, Upon Your Grave
09. Natural Light
10. Slow Motion Spirits
11. Don’t Let The Times Define You