Some albums are not meant to be cerebral or thought provoking. There is nothing wrong with some easy to digest pop, as that does often hit the spot. But then there are those times when the listener wants to be challenged. Sometimes we want to be taken on a journey, away from the monotony of daily life into a whole different realm. Mice Parade's self-titled album does just that, picking you up by the headphones and carrying you into a world of beautiful textures and interesting melodies.
Mice Parade began as a solo project of NYC's Adam Pierce, who has found himself in plenty of other creative musical outlets. He has drummed for Swirlies, The Dylan Group, HiM and múm, as well as working on his Mice Parade project since 1998. His latest album is definitely in the realm of experimental, but don't let that scare you off. The stunning material on this record never disappoints, as each track takes you from one different sound to another.
Pierce begins with "Sneaky Red," an upbeat track that actually would have fit nicely in the Sebadoh-dominated days of '90s college radio. Distorted guitars and some fantastic loud-soft passages faintly bring Hum to mind, if they had been more into folk and post-rock back in the day. It is a solid opener, and the perfect choice to lead us to the trance-inducing "Tales Of Las Negras." On this, he dabbles electronica, laying down chopped up beats that almost sound like early DJ Shadow. As the song continues to expand, Pierce's vocals are then joined by the soothing pipes of Stereolab's Laetitia Sadler.
One of the album's absolute standouts is "Double Dolphins On The Nickle." This features the unmistakable vocals of múm's Kristin Anna Valtysdotti, who has also been a touring member of the Mice Parade live band. The song stays focused on her child-like voice for the first couple of minutes before Pierce joins in. The delicate instrumentation and dreamlike melody suits her perfectly, resulting in something that is eerily beautiful.
Mice Parade's latest album is a great pop odyssey that is best listened to with one's full attention. This self-titled work offers an escape from reality from the very moment you press play.