What It Means To Be Left Handed is the eighth album from Adam Pierce’s Mice Parade. At first it seems easy to class this latest offering as a pleasant smattering of world music, especially with opening track Kupanda, an upbeat, African inspired number with rhythmic vocals and considering the globally varied collaborators Pierce has assembled for this project. But What It Means To Be Left Handed is oh so much more than this.
In Between Times is a shock to the system following the cheerful rhythm and deep, earthy vocals of Kupanda. Caroline Lufkin’s breathless, childlike voice surges to the fore amidst rustic acoustic guitar and the echo of Pierce’s vocals. Pierce is, as always, something of an everyman here, lending his talents to percussion, the flamenco infused guitar and vocally. Couches and Carpets bursts open with a melodic electronic sound less pastoral than its neighbours, Lufkin and Pierce share the vocal mantle to gorgeous affect, creating a fragile yet catchy sound. Pond continues the album’s electronic vibe, a short and sharp attention catching interlude, absent of any vocals, the hypnotic energy of this mini piece is enough to leave it standing proudly its own two feet.
Recover opens with tribal drums interrupted by easy going acoustic guitar and Pierce’s voice. The electric guitar also makes its first prominent appearance in the album here. Pierce has layered so many sounds into three minutes the track is like a musical cake. Complex arrangements flow flawlessly together, delivering you smoothly from one idea to the next. Recover is definitely a highlight not to be missed. Old Hat gives centre stage to the strings, it serves as the epic track of the album. Hauntingly beautiful, Pierce’s vocals coast along the edges, adding to the melodic beauty of the track. The albums first shamelessly guitar laden, indie pop number is Mallo Cup. Its pounding drums and attitude filled guitar will have your head nodding along in no time. The short but sweet Even continues in the poppy vein, putting a more melodic and downbeat twist the blueprint set by Mallo Cup. Tokyo Late Night is a retro, keyboard led electronic track where sampling abounds and this is no bad thing. It’s a chill out track with a mellow, haunting aura that becomes quickly addictive.
The finale to this musical pick and mix is Mary Anne. A graceful close to the rollercoaster of sound that has been What It Means To Be Left Handed, it sees the return of Caroline’s vocals, accompanied by Pierce and lazing guitar. It’s a subtle but fitting end, that leaves the band going out on a sombre but profound note. What It Means To Be Left Handed is most certainly a testament to Pierce’s ‘create as you go’ philosophy. The album owes it’s variety to this very process, it’s unique in the amount of genres it manages to blend both effortlessly and seamlessly. Yet for all the clashing styles and sounds Pierce and co. dabble in, the album still sounds like one cohesive and unified body of work. What It Means To Be Left Handed is not to be missed.