Release Date: Jan 29, 2013
Record label: Fat Cat Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Post-Rock, IDM
Mice Parade, the musical and literal anagram of musicologist Adam Pierce has, for over a decade, been one of the only genuine Western creators of ‘world music’. Pierce takes styles from all over the world and re-appropriates them to sound like Mice Parade and Mice Parade alone. It’s like a pick'n'mix where Pierce reaches into each variety, chews them all compulsively in one go, then spits them out into a globular, rainbow coloured, sweetened series of dreamscapes.
Mice Parade’s Candela proves that although Adam Pierce has spent much of his musical career experimenting with sound and collaborating with an array of eclectic artists, he has finally developed a style that is entirely his own. The album, which is named after a bar in Madrid, is both musically complex while also honoring the subtle intricacies for which Pierce has a natural ear. In fact, the album could be rightly described as “cultured.” And it is conceptual in the sense that every detail is intentional.
Mice Parade has taken listeners on geographical, musicological, and emotional journeys for years, and Candela is one of the most accessible chapters in Adam Pierce's travelogue. Borrowing its title from a Spanish bar that is also a mecca for flamenco guitarists, Candela takes Pierce's multi-cultural inspirations in directions that never sound forced, regardless of how subtle or overt they are. As with his previous album, What It Means to Be Left-Handed, Pierce ventures further into pop territory, and these are some of Mice Parade's most immediate songs yet.
There’s a palpable energy simmering under Candela, the new album by adventurous New York band Mice Parade. Listening to these songs, I could almost see multi-instrumentalist and band mastermind Adam Pierce smiling as he jumped from influence to influence, genre to genre, sometimes within the confines of a single song. In this sense, the album works a bit like Quentin Tarantino’s films do.
Since its translation from solo project to band effort, Adam Pierce's Mice Parade have been a vibrant home filled to overflowing with ideas and styles both musically and culturally adventurous. Candela is no exception, but it falls prey to its appetite for reconstruction, at times. Certain pieces, "Gente Interesante" in particular, are so restless that there isn't time enough to appreciate things like Doug Scharin's moody dub intro before we're suddenly thrust into a woozy samba filled with horns and piano.
Mice ParadeCandela[Fat Cat; 2013]By Joshua Pickard; February 5, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetAdam Pierce and the rotating cast of characters that form Mice Parade have once again drawn from the well of their own disparate influences to color the latest batch of songs under that long standing moniker. Pulling in snatches of samba, folk, and traditional indie rock, the band plows through a far ranging set of sounds in an only moderately successful bid to join them together into some sort of interconnected musical union. But unlike on previous Mice Parade records, such as 2010’s What It Means To Be Left-Handed and 2004’s Obrigado Saudade, the band seems more concerned with superficial connectivity and never really gets to the heart of their influences.
The older I get, and the more reviews I write, the shorter they become. I suspect they all sort of make the same argument: that the artist I like has found a balance - sometimes an unexpected balance - between two somethings. It could be harmony and discord; cohesion and chaos; songwriting and instrumentation, but it almost always comes down to an element of surprise and satisfaction: recognizing something as familiar but delighting in how it is presented or achieved.
At least theoretically, Adam Pierce's music as Mice Parade gets around. To observe the inclusive aspirations of his rhythmically twisted indie pop, one need not actually listen at all. Rather, simply read the dossier for his decade-plus of output: Two album titles are in Portuguese, while another references the birthplace of Mozart, the Austrian city of Salzburg.
The words Mice Parade are an anagram for Adam Pierce, the name of the long-running project’s mingled conductor. Much like rearranging the letters in his name to create a new one, Pierce has been shuffling around multi-cultural instrumentation for 15 years under the Mice Parade banner, with a revolving cast of cohorts. On Candela, a name taken from a bar in Madrid known to be a flamenco guitar players’ Mecca, Pierce’s ability to parse elements from across the globe and seamlessly meld them in with his own experimental instincts shines bright.