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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Mice Parade
Bem-Vinda Vontade
Bubble Core Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

August 1, 2005
A journey is often fulfilled by the growth of one's soul rather than by the distance traveled. For Adam Pierce - to some known as Mice Parade and to others, the owner of record label Bubble Core - the reference applies to both the distance traveled and amount of soul experience gained.

The names found in Pierce's collaborative background are impressive enough in themselves: mum, Dylan Group, Swirlies, David Grubbs, Lansing-Dreiden and HiM. To many of these projects, Pierce has injected a great amount of his own characteristic style. It is with the multi-instrumentalist's newest work, Bem-Vinda Vontade, that he shows the greatest effect of fellow collaborators upon himself and his own creations.

Until this point in his music, Pierce has shown himself as a creator rarely matched in combination of skill prowess, versatility and creativity (the only other musician who comes to mind in these dimensions is fellow collaborator Doug Scharin of HiM). Prior Mice Parade albums - most notably Ramda and Mokoondi - displayed the taste palette of an astute world traveler - someone infatuated with the musical output of other lands. In his previous five releases, Pierce utilized instruments, rhythms and ideas from other cultures to mix with his own innate sense of indie, electronic scene-setting experimentalism. The result has always come out in crisp and complex compositions that engage pensive listeners and less attentive movers alike. Bem-Vinda Vontade is no different in these primary respects.

This latest album is a new venture, for Pierce (as Mice Parade) throws on his most pop-influenced mannerisms to date. Guest appearances have always been protocol between the similar groups (HiM, Mice Parade, Dylan Group), but never before has Pierce allowed it to become so blatant. The one facet that he allows for the greatest amount of exploration is within his vocals - a signature that comes from Pierce's opposite creative hand - but in this case, it turns out that he is ambidextrous. Icelandic singer Kristin Anna Valtysdottir (of mum) and Japanese singer Ikuko Harada (of Clammbon) lend gentle female voices to balance with Pierce's low, monotone timbre; in some cases, the increased presence of vocals sacrifices the abundant attention to detail that is usually applied to mallet instruments, keyboards, shakers and other general band characteristic effects.

As far as Bem-Vinda Vontade is a step in a new direction, it is also squarely rooted in the Mice Parade aesthetic that has been formulated over the last several years. Songs are still built around loop-consistent, intricate drumwork, mallet instrument fringes and nylon-stringed acoustic guitar. Through these instruments, he arrives at a life of many styles, anywhere in the range of dub, Spanish-influenced flamenco, indie rock, afrobeat, lo-fi experimentalism and more.

"Nights Wave" is exemplary through its weaving, plucked acoustic guitar pattern, staggering drumbeat and the balance of Pierce singing opposite Valtysdottir. The interaction of intertwined guitar and drumbeat defines this track just as it does many others, with a rhythm that never settles to lay snare hits on the two and four (that is, if the time signature is even a basic 4/4, which it often is not).

Every new Mice Parade album has its own feel, and Bem-Vinda Vontade follows suit; in the relative scheme of things it is one of the moniker's better titles, although perhaps not in the same way that some fans are used to.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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