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Mice on Stilts - An Ocean Held Me EP Review

09 Jan 2014 // A review by Peter-James Dries

If you’re looking for something on the sandy shores of the mainstream, or a soundtrack to your Neo Silent French Film, then look no further than the debut album from Auckland’s Doom-Folk pioneering septet, Mice on Stilts.

To some it may seem amazing that Mice on Stilt’s managed to keep An Ocean Held Me afloat. Coordinating seven band members seems a logistical nightmare, on stage and during recording sessions, but somehow they’ve managed to pull it off, self-producing a collection of melancholic masterpieces. The lyrics are introspective, the vocals emotive and not once did I curse a saxophone from flaring up out of place.

The music has been described elsewhere as theatrical and cinematic, and in the depths of this Palmerston North summer, I can see why. An Ocean Held Me is the perfect soundtrack while walking this windblown puddle I call home.

I’m not sure where I first heard of Mice on Stilts, maybe it was a picture on some website, maybe it was an announcement regarding the impending release of An Ocean Held Me. Perhaps a friend liked them on Facebook and I followed suit. 

Whatever it first caught my attention, there was something about this band. I hadn’t heard the music yet but the idea of Doom-hyphen-anything and dark clothes in photographs is to me what Justin Bieber is to the lame.

I wasn’t disappointed, and I no longer associate Folk with German Polka in Lederhosen.

The band’s bow is aimed for Catharsis, and whether or not that ship ever reaches shore, the Mice on Stilts collective have still put out an amazing album. I look forward to further releases details the band’s exploration deeper into the unexplored territories of the human psyche.

You can find An Ocean Held Me on iTunes or the Mice on Stilts Bandcamp (http://miceonstilts.bandcamp.com/)

 

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
AOHM Remixes
Year: 2014
Type: EP
An Ocean Held Me
Year: 2013
Type: EP

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