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Mice on Stilts - Album Review: Hope For A Mourning

18 Apr 2016 // A review by mciver29

At first glance the name Mice On Stilts doesn't really give any indication of what the band might sound like - I hadn't heard the music before, but had seen the name a lot.

To be completely honest, it wasn't until perhaps the third listen to their new album Hope For A Mourning that I started to connect with it, and started hearing the influences more clearly and somewhat understanding the intention.

Firstly, there is no denying the production is nothing short of beautiful. There is a haunting atmosphere surrounding the album which is centered around Morely's captivating melodies and melancholy lyrics, most often paired with subtlety played, emotive piano. While it is for the most part a very sombre and dark collection of songs, there are some great thick walls of delay drenched electric guitar - which I always enjoy listening to loudly through headphones.

A good friend of mine compared this album to if Jeff Buckley wrote an album like Opeth's Damnation. I really can't find a fault with that comparison, especially seeing some of the metal t-shirts the frontman Benjamin Morely wears on stage!

As far as favourite songs go, I would choose track 5, YHWH. The brass section adds so much depth to the overdriven guitar tones, and Rob Sanders' drumming sits perfectly within the arrangements, never overplaying or complicating things, all very well thought out.

So you've got a cross reference of Jeff Buckley, Morrissey, Opeth and Radiohead in their more downbeat offerings – Hope For A Mourning is a grower-not-a-shower, a beautifully recorded and heartfelt album that takes a couple of listens... like the best albums usually do.

About Mice on Stilts

From humble beginnings in a small flat in Auckland, comes a seven piece collaboration on the verge of soaring. Mice On Stilts is a band that traverses genre distinctions to create their own sound, described by one reviewer as “a sombre, subtle and slow-to-grow opus that virtually exudes a cinematic aura others of their kind often only allude to.”

A host of enthusiastic fans and critics have likened the band to Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Kayo Dot, Steven Wilson and King Crimson. Their debut EP, An Ocean Held Me, is founded on ideas of darkness, empathy and catharsis. These themes extend into their upcoming album, Hope For A Mourning, which capitalises on the diverse range of instruments mastered by the seven skilled musicians. This release also incorporates the extraordinary voices of a ten-piece choir, offering even more depth to this layered, emotive and resonant work.

Mice On Stilts formed predominantly through chance encounters – on buses, at parties and at open mic events. The core sentiment of the music, however, grew from the challenges that songwriter Benjamin Morley was facing at the time. Together he and bassist Tim Burrows recorded a series of songs that attempted to make sense of a complex emotional landscape, and the product seemed to resonate with their community. After an overwhelmingly positive response, the band grew from strength to strength – both in size and in its ability to articulate the facets of grief and hope that Morley sought to explain.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Mice on Stilts

Releases

Home For A Mourning
Year: 2016
Type: Album
An Ocean Held Me
Year: 2013
Type: EP

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