Mouse Fire - Big Emotion
Record Label: Lujo Records
Release Date: June 8, 2010
It's hard to put a finger on Big Emotion, the latest release by Mouse Fire.
The album is clearly dance rock, but it falls somewhere between Hockey (the more indie side of things) and Cobra Starship (the more whatever you define Cobras Starship as). The problem is this midpoint Mouse Fire has landed on is shaky ground, never establishing a firm foothold on either the side of the slightly over-thought hipster rock or that of blissfully careless teen pop. The band seems to be pulled by each end of the spectrum, and unfortunately staying in the middle just doesn’t sound great.
Mouse Fire employs a cavalcade of sounds. While the guitar riffs are funky and fun, the synth is the driving force of the album, mostly for the worse. The production has resulted in a sound that is incredibly glossy. It lacks any warmth and doesn’t let the listener grasp anything fully. To underscore this point, I didn’t realize the acoustic-based “But, It’s Not What You Think” was in fact an acoustic track until it was directly pointed out to me via band’s bio on the Lujo Records’ website. The production and surrounding synths completely bury the simple emotional humanity of the acoustic guitar.
Oddly enough, the best track is probably the messiest of the bunch, “True, I May Have Lost It.” It combines random rattles and multiple key sounds into something that is just chaotic enough to work. The eccentricity isn’t as frustratingly middling.
For an album titled Big Emotion, it doesn’t seem to have much of a heart. Expressions of girl problems abound in the lyrics, but over such cheery beat they mostly ring hollow. The chorus of “Don’t Mess With A Texan” features the line, “You got in my head and now I’m fucked up, and I don’t think I’m ever gonna love again.” Perhaps delivered softly with a Bright Eyes-esque backdrop those words might have an impact, but over electronic grooves they are punchless.
Maybe Big Emotion will be thrown on as the background music to a party, and people will dig it. But that’s probably the best it can do - background filler noise for a party soon forgotten.
I've been kind of curious what other people felt about this album. This is the first review I've seen written for it. Upon first listen, I thought it was really solid. While repeat listens revealed significant drawbacks (occasionally silly lyrics, vocals that could be from any garden-variety teen-pop band), I still can't help but like it. Hockey and Cobra Starship definitely didn't come to mind as similar for me. I thought of Minus the Bear's Omni, or rather, what I almost wish Omni sounded like. Occasionally, the guitars reminded me of Damiera's Quiet Mouth, Loud Hands-- jagged, but rhythmic and danceable. At times, the orchestration evokes a less schizo !!!. It's all rolled together in a glossy pop package, which might turn some off (particularly fans of the mathier Wooden Teeth), but I found it to be charming. Any more in that direction and it might have bordered on cloying, but I felt they got the mix just about right.
Thanks Jeremy, I do agree some with the write up though. But we want to appeal to a wide range of people. Not everyone can handle the "pop" emotion, general emotion from real musicians OR could they lay all of there personal business on paper and own it. With that said, we are a young band and plan on writing many more albums that wont sound like the last.. Who do you think we are? Anberlin?
Thank you for the review. We really do appreciate constructive criticism. We have an EP out late Oct that I think you might seem fitting.
I thank you guys for both pointing not pointing out that in the original version of this I misspelled "careless," which is about the worst word to misspell. As for you (collectively) Mouse Fire, though I didn't dig this album, I certainly think you guys have the pieces to make an album that I really like and will look forward to checking out further stuff from you. (Though really, who cares if you ever make an album I like? Make the music you like and screw naysayers like me. And I mean that sincerely.)