By Kenny McMurtrie
The debut album from the Edinburgh quintet shares a fair amount musically with the likes of Glasgow contemporaries Admiral Fallow, both in terms of the sounds produced and, vaguely, style. On Winter Sun, however, Trapped Mice, manage to plumb greater emotional depths as well as harnessing vocal abilities akin to those of both Nick Cave and Miles Hunt (circa ‘Welcome To The Cheap Seats’).
A keen sense of disaffection with the current world situation can be felt throughout the work once instrumental opener ‘An Ending’ is out of the way. Ian Tilling has a good line on the vocal soundings of a man concerned about both the local and the global causes of strife and stress. Not a band afraid to delve into mournful waters (third song ‘Dance While Winter Cries’ being a particularly good example of this, with its haunting lone violin parts), they can nevertheless kick out the jams for more musically upbeat fare on the likes of ‘Arthur’s Seat’.
Whilst not then being the cheeriest sounding eleven tracks doing the rounds at the moment (in keeping with the weak light and short days brought to mind by the album title), there is an underlying dry wit through a great many of what essentially amount to observances of (and musings on) slices of life. With any luck, when the days start lengthening again, that same talent will be put to work on recording instances of existence illuminated by the stronger output of the name-checked orb.