Monday, 11 October 2010

Mice Parade - What It Means To Be Left Handed (Fatcat)

In a world that is miring itself deeper in depression and hostility nowadays, it is always welcome to hear a band that inject that nuance of happiness into your day, even if it only for the duration of the album. We all crave that 40 minutes of pure escapism that a mellow album can give us. We desire the placid effect that resonates as each track melts out of the headphones.

I am pleased to say that, if you are a seeker of such enlightenment in your day, then the latest offering from acclaimed New York Indie-surfer-rock act, Mice Parade, should be right up your street.

Their new album “What it means to be left handed”, is the band’s eighth studio album to date is filled to the brim with a multitude of musical influences. From Brazilian Jazz to African rhythm to early 90s Americana grunge, you cannot but help be taken in by the overwhelming culture of the music and be impressed with the sun-kissed melodies that certainly help lift the mood of anyone who has the pleasure of hearing it. It can certainly be said that founder, Adam Pierce can definitely be pleased, as am I, with his latest work.

You could be forgiven for mistaking the opening track, ‘Kupanda’ for a beginning of an Amadou and Mariam album. The rhythm of the congas, the guitar, the vocals and the infectious drum shuffle whip up a vision of being plunged into the African wilderness lugubriously watching the wildlife pass you by as the sun bakes the path before you.

After such a diverse opening we are then gifted something different. One cannot help pick up a hint of Sigur Ros in the track ‘In Between Times’. Then we are invited to mellow out once again as soon as we hear the tones and the beat of ‘Do Your Eyes See Sparks?’

This tranquil demeanour is carried on in ‘Couches And Carpets’. It is interesting to note that these tracks would not feel out of place on the soundtrack to an iconic cult movie. In fact, I would go so far as to say that any budding directors take note and do not let gems like these pass you by. Remember a soundtrack or a score can make or break a film.

‘Recover’ is a great hangover cure. I could imagine sticking this track on after a heavy night of indulgence and letting the vocals be a tonic for my ailments. The track tells its unique story and is one of my standout songs on the album for a myriad of reasons; mainly for the fact that everything comes together and ebbs and flows beautifully.

The pace of the album quickens with the introduction of ‘Old Hat’ and ‘Mallo Cup’. Both of these songs are different in their own right; the latter being a far raunchier and ‘balls out’ affair than its predecessor. However, the main point of these tracks is that they showcase the further diversity that Mice Parade has to offer.

‘Tokyo Late Night’ makes me feel like I have been sucked into a dream where I am living life in slow motion and I can imagine the Tokyo traffic whizz past me at high velocity. For a creative soul such as me, Mice Parade certainly can write music that evokes imagination from ever corner of the psyche.

‘Fortune of Folly’ is a further foray into finding that balance between rock and progressive movements that are much perfected by artists such as R.E.M. Whilst it is a solid effort, it is not one of the strongest on the album.

‘Pond’, ‘Remember The Magic Carpet’ and ‘Even’ can all be pigeon-holed as either being interludes or instrumentals. However, let that not detract from the fact that these tracks deserve their place on the album. I consider them an integral part of the journey that Mice Parade are trying to convey.

The album ends with ‘Mary Anne’ and whilst it is a quite a quaint song, I would not of ended the album with it. I wanted this album to go out with the same vigour and fervour of which it arrived. Instead it drifted away as it were the ending of a dream. That being said, let us not take away anything from Mice Parade as they, and record company FatCat have come up with something that definitely fills a hole in the music market and they can be go away immensely proud of themselves.

You can find this band performing their new material live at London Corsica Studios on the 13th of October.

Words : Barclay Quarton

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