Mice Parade: Candela

Pop/prog supremo’s seventh is the cat’s whiskers.

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Seven albums in and Mice Parade – aka Adam Pierce – is still unafraid to combine (deep breath) industrial, ambient, flamenco, jazz and African flourishes in his work.

From the Eno/Fripp ambient/krautrock opener Listen Hear to the dark rock of closer Warm Hand In Narnia, Candela is ludicrously well-crafted stuff. This River Has A Tide combines elegant piano, loopy noise, tearing guitar licks and dreamy vocals. It should be too random, yet such are Pierce’s gifts it’s greater than the sum of its parts.

What is genuinely stunning about Pierce is his capacity to balance pop sensibility with progressive ambition. All smart pop acts, including the brilliant Everything Everything, should be listening to this. Even an indie-inflected duet like Contessa feels on the edge of tripping out into junked-up jazz. The Chill House plunders West African riffage to create an ambient dance mood to get the hips busting, and equally the title track is flamenco wrung out through East Coast cool.

Progressive music should not be this groovy. No matter that Pierce’s post-modern ‘magpie’ approach might stick in some people’s craw – this is a work of intelligence and compelling beauty.