archiv: mice parade

originally posted on the losing today site – early 00’s …..

(Fat Cat)

Now here’s something of a conundrum, how do you perfect something that’s already perfect? Record something as sublime as ‘Bem – Vinda Vontade’ that’s how.

Building perfectly on last years ‘Obrigado Saudade’ full length, ‘Bem Vinda Vontade’ (loosely translated as ‘Welcome Will’) sees the Tropicana accents brought clearly to the fore for this Mice Parade’s fifth long player. Seen as a defining shift in terms of not only style but melodic structures, ‘Obrigado’ was an endless flurry of idyllic snap shots of far-flung exotic paradises, a distinct shift in the usually restrictive language of Chicago’s post rock scene, it sought for a lasting depth and warmth and achieved both admirably with the addition of providing a colourful card with which to explore outside the generic confines and set it apart from it’s peers.

2004 was something of a busy year for Pierce being involved in various projects including guesting on David Grubbs ‘A guess at the riddle’ full length as well as appearing in one form or another for Domenico and Ensemble, while this year alone making live appearances with both HiM and Lansing-Dreiden. In between all these activities Mice Parade have completed a successful US support slot with Stereolab with whom they now, it seems, share many common denominators in terms of sound and mood, and a well received sold out tour of Japan.

‘Bem – Vinda Vontade’ finds Adam Pierce invigorated, within the vision crystallising, the emphasis of fluidity is apparent creating a positive cornucopia of Brasilia rhythms and late night sultry-ness. Aided and abetted by the same group of friends that helped realise the ambition that led to ‘Obrigado Saudade’ with on this occasion the addition of Ikuko Harada of Clammbon, Pierce has created a melodic tour de force of such luxuriant richness that you have to keep pinching yourself from thinking you’ve been transported to some idyllic tropical spot only envisaged by the Sunday glossies. Vocals are another key addition this time around as with ‘Obrigado Saudade’, Mum’s Kirsten Anna Valtysdottir adding her ethereal child like whispers to two cuts while Pierce himself steps up to the mic to sound not unlike Oddfellow Casino’s David Bramwell in fact just check out the opening ‘Warm hand in Farmland’ and while you are falling headlong into its souring concoction of melch – folk pop tell me again that this hasn’t been swiped from the recording set list for the criminally overlooked ‘Yellow Bellied Wonderland’ full length from 2001.

In terms of accessibility ‘Bem – Vinda Vontade’ is perhaps the most engaging of all Mice Parade’s output to date, a perfect marinating of generic vocabularies that encompasses elements of succulent jazz tinged tones; fuzz pop (as on ‘Passing and Galloping’ with it’s shoe gaze day tripping on the West Coast); glacial lounge pop (‘Nights Wave’ where the intoxicating inflections of Stereolab at their most romantic warm icy cosmopolitan contours) and the more melodically enhanced extremes of post rock (yep the post rock signatures are still intact (just check out the dream like cortege of flamenco guitars of ‘Ground as cold as common’ and the deftly executed way the track shifts perspective moving from shades of dark to light and from abstract to lilting). Elsewhere there’s the heart stopping ache of the delicately woven ‘Steady as she goes’ mooching about in its own sophisticated orb, while the airy pop currency of the delectable ‘the days before fiction’ suggests within its caressing folds a hitherto hidden mid way point that bridges the divide between St Etienne, Dubstar and Pram. Best of the set though is the irresistible tug of ‘the Boat Room’ with it’s shape shifting interior Kirsten’s longing whispers pushing with ghost like candour optimistically against Pierce’s dulled resignation atop a dreamy backdrop that’s part smouldering cruise control MBV and dawn breaking in the enchanted wood, whatever it is it’s heavenly. A more rounded and richly rewarding release you’ll struggle to find all year.

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