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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Mice Parade
Mice Parade
Fat Cat

Rating: 8/10 ?

May 29, 2007
For the uninitiated, it bears mentioning that Adam Pierce is the multi-instrumentalist at the core of Mice Parade. As with all albums made under that moniker, Mice Parade is also made up of a steady cast of song-to-song contributors such as vocalist Kristin Anna Valtysdottir (Múm), percussionist Doug Scharin (HiM, June of '44), Dylan Christy (Dylan Group), Jay Israelson (Lansing-Dreiden), and vocalist Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab).

The eponymous release is the group's seventh album, and the first to be recorded in Pierce's new upstate New York home studio. Whereas the central focus of previous albums such as Ramda (1999) and Mokoondi (2001) was the meeting point of post-rock, electronics, and ethnic musics, the most recent works have Pierce growing in vocal presence and compositional precision. This album continues a trend of previous years - especially with Bem-Vinda Vontade (2005) - in that songs are greatly based around the rhythmic interaction of nylon-stringed acoustic guitars and powerful, fill-laden and ethnically-tinged drum set parts.

Mice Parade finds Pierce and his cast of contributors composing nine tunes of generally shorter times and more concise themes. On past efforts, Mice Parade compositions were often built from the ground up on one riff or drum pattern, eventually layering on complementary instrumental pieces one by one. Here most tracks begin by revealing their full form and either toying with dynamic levels or moving straight to new melodies and ideas. Less common to the music of Mice Parade is Pierce's previously signature method of experimenting with sounds before reaching a compositional climax. Nowhere else is this more clear than the album's opener, "Sneaky Red," with its four-count staccato drum fill attack, which leads directly into the skip-step rhythm performed by acoustic guitar, drum set, and vibraphone.

While Mice Parade cuts off some of the enjoyable excess, it hosts undeniably catchy and sometimes breakbeaty drum patterns, Pierce's low-toned and growingly appealing vocal styling, and overall a musical style that is its own - danceable, cultural, underground, and intelligent (look to the Minutemen-referencing "Double Dolphins On the Nickel"). For my money, there are few more underrated or enjoyable collectives. And although Mice Parade isn't necessarily the group's paramount album, it certainly makes their stock soar high.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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