I have to admit that I hated this album when it first came out. Its taken nearly six months for me to come to grips with it, and now I rate it as one of the best records of the year. My initial reaction to it was the result of two things – first, that Mice Parade’s previous albums, especially the earliest were such beautifully constructed rhythmic albums full of odd percussion and vibraphones; and second, the overwhelming intrusion of vocals into what used to be almost entirely instrumental.
However, time changes everything. I’m not sure what it was was precisely that made me come back to this record after it languished on the ‘should I review it?’ shelf (which currently houses about 60 other albums awaiting critical judgement or passing on to other writers) but over the last two months it has steadily climbed its way up the play counter on my iPod. Even the vocal contributions from Múm’s Kristín Anna Valtysdótti don’t grate now. The rhythms are still amazing and the global influences still lurk behind the unabashedly indie vocals. Passing And Galloping is the standout track with its guitar fuzz over drums that threaten to but never dominate, and Waterslide has a heart meltingly simple synth arpeggio that offsets the Spanish guitar. Its a different direction for Mice Parade to take and one that takes a while to adjust to but a great record if you do.