WHAT IT MEANS TO BE LEFT-HANDED by MICE PARADE (Fat Cat Records)
Deceptively intense are the songs on Mice Parade’s eighth album. Main man Adam Pierce once again drums his heart out as well as offers his vocals on several tracks, but what he should be best known for is introducing so many rhythms and musical styles from around the world and either letting them stand on their own or seamlessly blending them into intelligent, playful and palatable arrangements for Western ears.
Kupanda opens the album with bubbling guitars by Dan Lippel and Swahili vocalist Simo wrapping her voice around layered percussion and guitars like a bird flitting through the trees.
In Between Times keeps the happy mood with stop-start guitars and drums and Caroline Lufkin’s wafting vocals getting stirred in a pot of electric and acoustic guitars, clattering skins and cymbals and occasionally coming up for air for loveliness embodied.
Recover is a suitable title for a song that keeps building up only to drop out and just when you think its over, the drums crash, the vocals raise in volume and the electric guitars clang away once again.
Just to prove Pierce isn’t only into music you’ve never heard anything like before, he covers The Lemonheads’ Mallo Cup, his laconic vocals almost the same as Evan Dando’s yet outdoing the original for overall guitar and drum playing.
Fortune of Folly is all over the map, containing layered tangy flamenco guitar, energetic drums that almost but not quite trip over each other, Pierce’s off-kilter vocals and a bright pop core within the crunchiness, ending with more Latin guitars and rhythms to dance away to.
On What it Means to be Left-Handed, Adam Pierce and company invite you to get off your armchair and rock out to some new sounds that invite repeat listens. Info: www.myspace.com/miceparadeband
(Review by Bret Miller)