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Mice Parade made a few good albums in the early 2000s which were impressive mainly for the incredible drumming of Adam Pierce (Adam Pierce=Mice Parade geddit?). He has a fantastic style that is technically brilliant but also fun to watch and listen to. When I saw them play live way back when, they had Doug Scharin (Codeine, etc) drumming and towards the end of the set Piece stopped his singing and guitaring and they had a big fat drum off. Lovely.
Pierce is less good at the songwritery thing. He has a neat way with Spanish-sounding guitars and can create good bursts of electronica but the more he heads towards straight ahead songsmithery the less interesting his whole thing becomes. Yes, this is the way he’s been heading for a few years and although there hasn’t been a great Mice Parade album in a long, long time their music is always highly listenable, intricate and inventive. He tends to use high pitched female singers. I’d rather he wouldn’t. For one, his own voice is okay as it is and with a really nice husky female singer the mood may be less shrill.
This latest album (his umpteenth) carries down the same path of warm electronica, summery electronic textures, live playing and stupendous beat work. Occasionally it veers way into Latin rhythms with exotic trumpet trills, a sound possibly better hinted at rather than diving headlong into but at its best it recalls all manner of Chicago area greats from David Grubbs to Tortoise to Him. Although you get the feeling Mice Parade’s best work is behind them and their sound is one which impresses rather than really connects, it’s still nice to have them around.
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