Mice Parade - Candela
Album Review

Mice Parade – Candela

‘Candela’ is the 7th album from musician Adam Pierce’s solo plus guests project, Mice Parade. An established and worldly musician, Pierce’s ‘Candela’ attempts to take the listener on a global journey of sound exploration, fusing styles and genres with his off kilter cousin of indie pop.

The album opens with ‘Listen Hear Glide Dear’, a mysterious building rousal of spanish influence, with an epic quality which makes it seem as though it’s being echoed across mountains. A promising start which ‘Currents’ attempts to live up to. The track is percussive, rhythmic and has a driving baseline with feels as if the listener has been driven forward into the city. The track also introduces the pixie-like vocals of Caroline Lufkin, who’s enchanting tone adds something special to the record. Lufkin’s vocals work perfectly to offset Pierce’s gloomy lyrical drone, as in tracks like ‘Pretending’, which has a beautifully emotional quality to it’s indie-pop backbone. However, as with other songs on the album, Pierce seems to miss the brilliance in it’s simplicity, overlaying hectic extra guitars, drums and drone sounds at the end.

Pierce’s fusion of different cultural music styles works well at times, and he makes good use of contrasting synthetic sounding synthetic beats and precession with natural sounding spanish or japanese strings. Tracks like ‘The Chill House’ and ‘Look See Dream Me’, however, are more or less unremarkable, seeming like pauses in which Pierce will show us the photo slides of his travels around the world. Most disappointingly, the title track, ‘Candela’, takes what could have been a beautiful sad romance about falling in love in Europe and flattens it with over-bearing samba gimmicks. Here, Pierce replaces re-creating a scene from 1995’s ‘Before Sunrise’ and transforms it into ‘falling in love in Europe 101: the high school edition’. Having said this, earnest lyrics like “you got on a train to meet me, that was the coolest thing you ever did” do have an understated brilliance.

The record picks up again with ‘Gente Interesante’, an eerie pop track with great volumous percussion and bass. Unfortunately, once again a token samba tramples all over the delicacy of the song’s promising start. That said, there is a certain forgiving groove which outweighs this. ‘Contessa’ has a wonderful bluesy folk feel to it, and happily Pierce allows the listener engage with it by retaining it’s simplicity. The record finishes with ‘Warm Hand in Narnia’, a wonderfully emotional guitar lead song, with sentimental lyrics and a depth with returns us to the promise of the beginning of the album.

‘Candela’ is a record which may rub some up the wrong way, Pierce’s attempts to make abstract references to places and cultures often not quite gelling, almost as included for the sake of it in parts. It does however, have a truly emotional feel to it, and listeners may indeed be taken on the geographical exploration of memory through sound, picking out the musical intricacies which Pierce clearly excels in. A man with 7 albums in the bag and many other credits in many other bands, Pierce’s Mice Parade seems a real exercise in self expression and experimentation. The musician really puts himself into the music and it’s complexity is to be admired. At the same time, the complex sound may put listeners off. At it’s heart, however, ‘Candela’ feels like an entity all to itself, an insight into pierce’s influences and experiences and has an overarching surreal texture which, listeners may find, is a bit of a grower.

Venue: Candela
Support Band: FAT CAT records

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