Mice Parade has never created music which feeds the unadventurous and lazy, and has always conjured up sounds to stretch and inspire the imagination as well as in many ways challenge the senses with its diverse and eclectic use of aural ideas and textures. New album Candela is no different, the seventh full length release from the band being in their own words their ‘pop’ album, and one which certainly takes time to make its full persuasion but rewards richly for the extended effort in exploring all its shady corners, inviting shadows, and thrilling light.
Essentially the solo project of New Yorker and multi-instrumentalist Adam Pierce for which he additionally recruits musicians of equal vision and inventive mind set, Mice Parade is again a release which explores a multitude of sounds globally and in style for an impacting experience which can seduce or equally trouble the senses, both extremes equally rewarding and magnetically pleasing. Released via Fatcat Records, Candela is named after a late-night bar in Madrid which is renowned as a flamenco guitar players’ Mecca. As with previous releases the album has a hunger to investigate and develop not to forget share, numerous rhythmic and melodic world searched aural discoveries re-invented into unique and compelling new shades and voices. The band has never been an immediate persuasion for personal tastes and Candela is no different but as is generally the norm once asked and given that extra attention and time it unveils another enjoyable flood of inspiring and intriguing enterprise from the band.
One essence of the band which has always found an inexhaustible acceptance here is the veining of discord which either whispers or prowls amidst their music and none more so than in opener Listen Hear Glide Dear. The track is a caustic wash of sonic unrest and folk invitation coated in an unsettling distrustful ambience which intrudes and permeates every atom of the senses to disrupt their ease and open the doors to provocation. Dirge like in its gait and abrasive in its embrace, the track leaves the emotions ringing from its jangly rub allowing the following Currents to slip in to its place with ease and bewitching temptation. From its restrained start big bulging rhythms and a lovely throaty bassline saunters across the ear whilst the fiery touch of the guitar ensures that there is still a sinister element at play. The delicious vocals of Caroline Lufkin (Temporary Residence) lay a siren like hand upon the passions to temper and equally feed the now agitated formidable rhythmic dance which almost bruises the listener within the rising and coarse sonic embrace permeating the air. It is a tremendous opening to the album, the two tracks in their distinct individuality uniting for a startling and inciting introduction to the release.
Next up This River Has A Tide continues the potency with further intensity and beauty which rival and complement each other. It starts with a continuation of the rough handling of the ear with the rhythms as punchy as ever and the bass developing a carnivorous appetite to its great corrosive sound matched by the guitar. Either side of their first appearance though there is a flamenco whispering elegance which is just irresistible, the spiralling melodic keys and soft guitar beckoning the scalding snarl mentioned and regaining their control on the other side with further magnetic weaves of melodic enterprise and that vocal mesmerism. The merger of the two is a towering wall of almost savage intensity and greed veined by elegant and transfixing melodic beauty. It is a masterful merger and thrill aided by the dual switching vocals of Pierce and Lufkin.
Across the lively funk appetite of Pretending within a more reserved cage, things take another pleasing turn of variety and adventure. As the twin vocal attack take their turns to express the narrative things brew up in energy and stance to explode in a rumbling rhythmic and feisty dance of pop excitement. As the album, the song twists and offshoots into further engaging looks and exploration whilst holding clinging to its spine driving destination. The track does not ignite the same strength of fires as previous songs but still enthrals and opens up a well of thoughts and emotions with its invention and unpredictable ingenuity.
Through the wonderful instrumentals of The Chill House, a piece which is as meditative as it is an itch upon the senses and Look See Dream Me with its immersive temptation the sun of the album discovers its easiest yet warmest hold whilst the folk swagger of Las Gentes Interesantes is like the rising sun, hot, enchanting, and easy to bask within without any resistance offering objection. Admittedly the ‘quieter’ latter half of the album does not quite inspire the height of ardour as the first but with songs like this there is never a moment not to acclaim.
With a final highlight in Contessa and a return of those big sinewy rhythms framing the ever stunning vocals of Lufkin as well as a sonic tango of riveting and interplaying melodic expression and invention, before the pulsating closer Warm Hand in Narnia, the album is a striking and deeply satisfying endeavour. It takes and needs time to reveal all of its glories and purpose but Candela makes sure the rewards far outweigh the effort.
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