MICE PARADE: Mice Parade (Fat-Cat Records)


Posted on Sep 5th 2007 11:54 pm

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Mice Parade: Mice Parade

Mice Parade
Fat-Cat Records 2007
09 Tracks. 35mins28secs

Over the years, the music of Mice Parade has gained in lightness and contrast, evolving from post rock to airy pop, with a greater emphasis given to acoustic instruments, vocals and melodies. Yet, the essence of the band is as alive today as it was when New York-based Adam Pierce first appeared as Mice Parade back in 1997. Having moved away from New York to the country where he built his studio and began work on the follow up to 2005’s Bem-Vinda Vontade, Pierce delivers a superb collection of pastoral experimental pop music.

This eponymous Mice Parade album, Pierce’s fifth for Fat-Cat and his eighth under this particular banner, continues on the footprints of Obrigado Saudade (2004) and Bem-Vinda Vontade, but in true Mice Parade style, Pierce develops here a singular set of components and ambiences and applies them to refine his personal blend of pop.

Once again, Pierce has enrolled the help of a few friends, including regulars such as former Múm vocalist Kristin Anna Valtysdottor, whose diaphanous vocals give Double Dolphins On The Nickel its fragile undertones, while HiM’s Doug Scharin, Dylan Group co-member Dylan Cristy, Jay Israelson and Dan Lippel bolster the live formation and give this album a lived-in feel. Laetitia Sadier, of Stereolab fame, also drops in on the stellar Tales Of Las Negras, her deadpan voice wrapped loosely around Pierce’s breezy murmurs while crystalline electric piano and shimmering acoustic guitars provide a rich backdrop to what is undeniably the highlight of this album. Similar brushes are applied on Swing and Circle None, and to a lesser extend on Double Dolphins On The Nickel and Satchelaise, each time revealing slightly different textures and atmospheres. The elegant layerings of acoustic and loose electric drapes of Swing in particular contribute to create a subtle evocative piece and symbolises the dreamy side of Pierce’s work.

Elsewhere, Pierce crafts more upfront and energetic songs. The album opens with vivid éclats of electric guitars and drums which are progressively tempered toward the end. While slightly calmer, Snow also displays some sharp electric angles, at times evoking the foggy ambience of shoegaze. The album closes with the beautifully contrasted The Night After Fiction, on which acoustic and electric guitars arch over an explosion of instruments while Pierce’s voice retreats toward the back of the mix.

This latest Mice Parade offering continues to affirm Adam Pierce as one of Fat-Cat’s most consistent artists. While he certainly relies on a formula which he has been refining for a few years now, Pierce manages to keep his music fresh and imaginative by branching out and applying new phrases and revisiting old ones. The result is possibly Pierce’s most confident and lavish records to date.

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