Mice Parade - Candela
Record Label: Fat Cat Records
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Mice Parade has never been the sort of band that fit in with the crowd. The New York based band, focused around percussionist Adam Pierce (his name is an anagram of Mice Parade!). have been kicking around since ‘98. Throughout the last fifteen years, Pierce and his merry men have brought to us songs that have been sometimes weird, sometimes poppy, sometimes sad, sometimes happy, but always wonderful. Now they've returned with their new album, Candela, the latest release in an excellent back catalogue. It’s with this thought in my head that I say that I really wanted to like Candela. As a fan of the band, I hoped to continue my all inclusive love when it comes to Mice Parade’s discography, however Candela is, sadly, a disappointment.
The main issue with the album? It’s just too bloody weird. When dealing with Mice Parade it’s always healthy to expect absolutely anything, but Candela takes the biscuit. Despite the promising open of “Listen Hear Glide Dear”, the album descends into complete incoherence. Post-rock, shoegaze, flamenco, electronica, indie-pop, hip hop - the album flips from one to another without missing a beat and just leaves the listener in a confused heap. Not one track on the release actually holds anything in common with its fellow songs, and quite honestly, if you were to listen to the album on shuffle, you wouldn’t really notice the difference. The entirety of the album feels a little like a piece of post-modern aural art rather than music.
What’s frustrating about Candela is when the sparks of a great band are evident. “Warm Hand In Narnia” is a superb, driving, emotive track. It’s a pulsing track that shows off both Pierce’s vocal ability and drumming. "The Chill House" is also wonderful. Its offbeat acoustic picking and chilled out electronic beats meld together seamlessly and appear to achieve exactly what it is the rest of the album is attempting to, in bringing different sides of the spectrum together. However, two tracks don't make an album. It makes for a beautifully frustrating interlude in a completely nonsensical album. The rest of the record isn’t blessed with such beauty. “Look See Dream Me” is inexplicably oddball. It’s a four minute instrumental, glitch filled, keyboard focused track that has absolutely no relevance to the songs around it. The problem is, this same statement can be applied to most of the album. “Gentle Intersante” is, of course, offbeat, and its female vocals ring in quite an irritating manner.
Overall, all I can say is, don’t listen to this record. Mice Parade are a wonderful band, however Candela fails to present this. Whether it’s Pierce trying to experiment as much as possible with Mice Parade’s sound, or maybe that he’s a little out of ideas at the moment, remains to be seen. However, Candela makes for an, at times unpleasant, but ultimately forgettable listen.
Mice Parade has never been a band that was in the few I really like to follow, year after year, release after release. For me they have always been in my radar as "the band that I should listen to more often", but never did. That was until Candela. (And may be it explains why I have another point of view.) I recently realized that I had access to a considerable amount of their releases (if not all?) on Spotify and so I decided to dive in with the release of Candela. So I took the reverse order. Now I definitely like what they do. I really needed to take the time to listen to them, because it can be hard to appreciate their music without having a global feel of the range of genres they can offer. I can totally understand your point about the album being 'weird' because it's true it's hard to follow at times. But the more I listen to it and the more I think the order of the songs is ok with me. It is indeed absolutely subjective on their part and I guess it would be really hard to justify but I accept it as being the right order. At least the general structure, for instance I would not move the first title "Listen Hear Glide Dear" and nor would I move the last two, "Contessa" and "Warm Hand in Narnia" which make such a great ending. And in between I kind of appreciate the progression. I see this album as a kind of travel with some references to Spain, Love, Friendship, Life with great creativity that I find so beautiful that I forgive completely the weirdness and subjectivity. I guess this album is a kind of hit or miss in terms of likeness because it is so hard to separate the feelings from the music that if you don't share those feelings you can't really be into the music. At some extent it happens to most bands but I think it is even more present with Mice Parade and above all with Candela. When listening to the album sometimes I am afraid to understand a word or a meaning that I did not notice before and that could disappoint me because then I think I could not listen to this album with such level of appreciation. One thing I'm not sure is title 8, I thought it was "Las Gentes Interesantes" Which would make some sort of sense in Spanish. Overall I can very much understand your critic, my experience has been different and it was certainly influenced by the fact that I jumped in the Mice Parade ship more recently. This album gives me some great feelings. (I will try to change the order of the songs next time :) )