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Trembling Blue Stars

Anyone familiar with the late great Sarah Records band the Field Mice will immediately recognize Trembling Blue Stars as a direct descendent. Indeed, the singer/songwriter of that group, Robert Wratten, is also the creative force behind Trembling Blue Stars, which he founded after the breakup of the Field Mice and a brief interim project called Northern Picture Library. Trembling Blue Stars' sound has Wratten's fingerprints all over it: fragile, baleful male vocals, angelic female harmonies, copious interplay of ringing guitars and feathery synths, delicate percussion, the occasional acoustic guitar fill, and so on. It's an appealing kind of melancholy -- lovelorn, nostalgic, and very very British.

Wratten started Trembling Blue Stars in 1996, taking the name from a passage in The Story of O, originally as a solo project to mull over his breakup with former Field Mice and Northern Picture Library girlfriend Annemari Davies. By the third Blue Stars release, Wratten and Davies were sufficiently reconciled to play together again; she appears on 2000's Broken by Whispers, as does Field Mice co-founder Michael Hiscock. However, both exited prior to the 2001 follow-up, Alive to Every Smile, and were replaced by a new lineup of Sarah alums, including former members of Aberdeen, Brighter, and Another Sunny Day. Still, it's very much Wratten's band and the continuity from the Field Mice days is quite apparent. Trembling Blue Stars is a bit monochromatic, but the music will serve quite nicely for anyone who prefers musical assistance to revel in their loneliness.

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