Where: FatCat Records
Adam Pierce has been known for incorporating a ton of genres and culture from all over the world into his almost-solo project Mice Parade. For nearly two decades now he has produced albums with titles referencing Mozart, titles in different languages, titles from places in different countries and his sound has included a lot of West African Highlife, Brazilian Jazz and various flamenco elements to make Mr. Pierce one of the most entertaining Geography teachers to ever exist. With new album Candela – named after a bar in Madrid if you wanted to know – and a selection of collaborators Adam Pierce looks to set the world on fire with many colourful ideas, though unfortunately delivers them without revising his organisation skills.
Candela beings with one of the standout tracks in Listen Hear Glide Dear, which opens the record with a huge wall of tremolo-heavy guitars and thumping percussion, and it really emits a strong, emotive atmosphere that’s boosted by barely-audible vocals which seep into the sound to create a very stark yet intriguing start to the album. Sadly this does not foreshadow the sound of Candela, something I think Mice Parade failed to capitalise on.
Currents follows with easily the most concise and accessible sound on Candela. It bares a nice mix between not-so-chaotic drums and extremely well varied guitar riffs and licks all of which is topped off with some wonderfully sweet female vocals, all in all creating a very nice indie track for Mice Parade.
Pretending is a track that could’ve been absolutely incredible if it didn’t feature too many ideas. It’s a track that features a lot of rhythm forming a real nice foundation for what eventually becomes a pretty hard hitting song, however the drums are a little too freely enabled to be all over the place and sadly it hurts the atmosphere enough to make it almost unlistenable. It’s an almost perfect song, but one with the potential to have been the best song on the record.
The Chill House takes things a little further with a haunting banjo riff which somewhat fits in with the album’s opener but for some reason is paired up with these electronic jitters which together doesn’t work at all. It’s yet another song that’s ruined by being driven into the opposite direction, which is the case for pretty much all of the remaining tracks on Candela. Closing track Warm Hand In Narnia does bring some normalcy back with finesse that should’ve be used throughout but its way too late to save the record.
What we come to find is that instead of Candela being an album with its own identity, it’s actually just a placeholder for ten tracks that are nothing alike. The variety is good but everything has to be somewhat consistent to keep the record flowing at a good pace, which hasn’t been considered in any section of the record at all. Having gone from the almost post-rock sound of the opener to the indie pop Currents to the heavy hitting almost-perfect Pretending and now to the badly formed The Chill House, there’s just no common ground inbetween for them to get along nicely. The ideas are there but they haven’t been granted the time to become fully evolved pieces of music, but rather a collection of sounds thrown into a tight spot. Candela has become more of a mixed tape rather than an album, and with this inconsistency bleeding into the tracks too it’s nothing but a misdirection for Adam Pierce.