January 24, 2006

The Snowdrops "Sleepydust"

The Snowdrops are very much an indie-pop supergroup. Featuring members of such legendary bands as Beaumont and Arabesque, as well as the always wonderful Pam Berry, this little group occasionally makes wonderfully gray, melancholy pop. Sleepydust is only their second release in two and a half years, but it was certainly worth the wait. If you’re familiar with the works of Bob Wratten, then this little EP will certainly feel like a tribute to the long-lost and quite beloved band The Field Mice. Everything about this record is reminiscent of that beautiful group—from the cover art to the beautiful music.

And shall we talk about the wonderful, wonderful music? Let’s! The five songs on here are as sad and blue as you smart-dressing college kids could possibly want. The big song here is the title track; it’s got a gentle beat that’s slightly Chris Lowe, and lead singer Keith Girdler meets the beat with his best Neil Tennant impersonation. Throw in gorgeous backing vocals by Pam Berry, and you’ve got a wonderful combination. The EP is book-ended by two versions, a “regular” version and a “12-Inch” version; the only real difference between the two is that the latter version features a different vocal introduction by Ms. Berry.

Though the three songs in the middle aren’t quite as big and as grand as the title song, they’re still quite lovely. “Too Cold To Snow” is a cold, wintery instrumental; it’s stark and sad and makes you seek out the nearest jacket. “The Boy with the Hummingbird Eyes” features the vocals of Dick Preece and a guest appearance by Keris Howard, and though it might not contain the bright lyrical spark as the title song, it’s still a pretty, beat-ridden number, with detached singing that makes you want to gaze at your shoes in sorrow. “Teddy Dragons” is a brief, less-than-a-minute number that’s not really essential, though it does fit the general mood of the rest of the record quite nicely.

If you’ve ever wondered what The Field Mice might have released after their swan-song single “Missing the Moon,” Sleepydust answers that question quite nicely. It’s a lovely record that whets the appetite for the next Snowdrops record.

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.indiepages.com/dontbuyanythingbythesnowdrops/
Label Website: http://www.indiepages.com/matinee

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