Brazed with the golden charms of brimming drums, clamoring guitars and an intensified plantation of multi-dimensions, Mice Parade celebrates with great pageantry. Their first album in over ten years as a band, What it Means to Be Left-Handed is the band’s opening foray into the scene of competitive indie music. And, although everything has always relied on master music-maker Adam Pierce’s ability at being able to sway different instruments into one substantial ball of endearment, their debut combines various artists and sounds to convey an overall tone that is definitely worth notice.
Once you’re greeted with the shining beams of radiance that are introduced when “Kupanda” comes glaring in, it’s clear that What it Means to Be Left-Handed is going to be one daringly varied journey. African guitars and a sparkling piano paint the walls with shades of orange and red by way of intricate melodies and progressions. These guitars aren’t being shredded but, rather, plucked and picked to sound almost like majestic organs, and this sense of togetherness, of sweetness, of love, is the winning recipe in Mice Parade’s fruitful blend of other-worldliness and harmony.
Their covers ultimately stand out because they’re entirely reformed and re-invented in the hands of Mice Parade. So much so that the album’s closer is a reverb-drenched and stormy stomp cover of “Mary Anne”. Borrowed from labelmate Tom Brosseau’s catalog, the version found here is a revolving door of longing tensions. On the flip-side, “Mallo Cup” is a spiky and strikingly great rendition of the Lemonheads’ classic song. It’s not as if they sound dis-similarly worlds apart either, with Mice Parade’s attention to scope and sequencing, each song sounds complete and involved within the album’s framework.
Themes switch between the shifts in mood and you’re always greeted with a uniquely alternate sound on every song. The covers aside, “Couches & Carpets” begins with a Flamenco guitar before switching to rolling drums and stunning vocal arrangements. Male and females come and go before the fuzzy guitar takes over. The point of contention would need to rise with the album’s lack of cohesiveness but when there are flourishing moments – like the roar of strings and keyboards on “Old Hat” – an extra color, or two, to add to the painting surely doesn’t hurt.
Like the multi-hued ray of colors that fill the cover of the album, the music found inside is just as vibrantly vivid. Certain songs afflict with a strong piano melody and evocative lyrics (“Tokyo Late Night”) where Pierce is able to sound like Paul Banks without ever getting too dreary. Not to worry though, “Fortune of Folly”’s open-ended, crashing drums and pedal tones make sure to follow with brash creativity. Before you know it, it’s a Jamaican-tinged, surf-guitar blast from the Caribbean. It’s hard to believe that a band this effectively musical could really only be releasing their first album, but What it Means to Be Left-Handed is just that: a diverse assortment of refreshing new music from a band that has already developed and progressed their chops. It’s a joyful occasion and for Mice Parade; a loud celebration down the street, rodents and all.