The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


A review of the album ‘What It Means to Be Left Handed’ by Mice Parade

Mice Parade - What It Means to be Left HandedReview Snapshot: With ‘What It Means to Be Left Handed’, Adam Pierce and his Mice Parade have made an album full of worldly influences and a list of guest performers that is the stuff of any indie kids wet dream. Pierce once again exceeds expectations with the records many layers and wonderful production, which take the listener on an intoxicating musical rollercoaster well worth the admission fee.

The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10

Full Review: The term 'less is more' is certainly not one Adam Pierce makes his music by. His Mice Parade return with the boldly sprawling and intricate 'What It Means to Be Left Handed', a record crammed to the hilt with worldly influences.

Taking these influences from everything from Flamenco and West African Jazz right through to Shoegaze and Indie Rock, Pierce has enlisted artists as diverse as Swahili vocalist Somi, Meredith Godreau - aka Gregory & The Hawk - and members of the Japanese bands Clammbon and Toe, to bring this heady mix together.

The album's opener Kupanda (listen to it below) is an infectiously, vibrant showcase of worldbeat with beautiful kora strings and swaying African drums blended with Somis gorgeous melodic vocal. This really sets the tone for the musical journey the album intends to take the listener on.

The elation spills into the next track 'In Between Times', where regular collaborator Caroline Lufkin's pixie-like vocals weave sweetly around Pierce's sombre spoken words. Flowing seamlessly on its journey the album's next real couple of highlights  are 'Recover' and 'Old Hat'. Recover, with its exquisitely layered guitars over hushed vocals, is backed by amazing percussion from Pierce showing a master of his craft at work. This is followed by the hypnotic 'Old Hat' which again uses layered strings, only this time accompanied by dreamy piano and electronics making these two tracks very cosy bedfellows indeed

The stand out track on the album comes in the form of Tokyo Late Night, a  hauntingly, sublime piece of electronica featuring accompaniment by members of post rock stalwarts Toe. The track cements Pierce's place as one of the most exciting producers doing the rounds at the moment and showcases his almost fearless attempts at appropriately fusing different genres.

While running the risk at times of trying to do just a touch too much with this record, 'Mallo Cup' and 'Fortune of Folly' seem to sway slightly from the rest of the album, Pierce and his band on the whole do bring it together very well. It will be interesting however  to see if they can translate it so well to the live stage on their current tour, only time will tell. For now though Mice Parade's latest work is well worth a listen or two. 

Pat Gormley

Mice Parade - Kupanda by FatCat Records

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