27 May 2022
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Mousey - Album Review: My Friends

10 Mar 2022 // A review by Danica Bryant

Christchurch artist Mousey is well-recognised for her tremendous list of achievements, from Silver Scroll and Taite Music Prize Best Debut nominations, to support slots for industry giants. But the best way to prove an artist is worth listening to is simply telling you they make good music. And Mousey’s sophomore album My Friends is very, very good.

On her 2019 debut Lemon Law, Mousey walked the line between witness and participant in the emotionally destructive world each song painted. She introduced herself as an intensely sensitive artist deeply aware within her relationships, a strength and a weakness which Mousey finally makes full sense of in My Friends. My Friends is an album about maintaining those relationships, even in their darkest moments.

An immersive instrumental introduction led by woodwind and guitar opens the album on the titular My Friends. Mousey’s soft vocals give emotion to her subtly evocative lyricism. This track also introduces one of her most defining tricks, shifting from a gentle, relaxed beginning into a dynamically powerful second half. The simplicity of the phrase “I am loved by my friends” sets a steady positivity for the album. But Mousey will quickly tear this apart with all the reasons she believes she is hard to love, and yet still worthy of both giving and receiving it.

Early cuts One Dollar Wednesdays and The Bench are excellent indie pop standards. Their guitars and quirky backing vocals are reminiscent of other Kiwi acts such as Daffodils and Belladonna. Both tracks capture the sense of nostalgia that made Mousey’s Silver Scroll-nominated single Extreme Highs so magical two years ago. These songs may at first glance appear conventionally pop, but their looser structures, instrumental sections and general sensation of freedom experiment far outside the norm. 

Moreover, Mousey’s vocal subtly impresses on these tracks. She sounds so relaxed that the untrained ear may not even realise her clear singing prowess. Her ability to jump from light-hearted vocals on Wait For Me to almost disturbing depths on Rachel give her sound intense character and poignancy. This is why, although it is likely an intentional choice to match the genre’s style, it’s occasionally disheartening that a lack of vocal clarity in the production can muddy the words. Mousey’s lyrics tackle complex subjects whilst simultaneously capturing such classic melodies that make it possible to both connect to or distract yourself from the topics at hand. But most listeners will surely not want to miss a single line.

My Hands Are Made Of Glass and Rachel serve as the album’s darkest moments. They are fairly stripped back in relation to other tracks, showcasing careful instrumentation and strong dynamic builds. Mousey is particularly vulnerable in this album’s gloomier latter half, needing listeners to give themselves over to her music, but also demanding, “don’t you dare get comfortable with me”. Even her simplest lyrics can mean so much.

Overwhelmingly, My Friends is a concise, affecting sophomore effort, taking listeners on a journey from the saccharine surface level of love and friendship, to its deepest struggles, and then back up to hope again. Mousey is loved by her friends, but perhaps even more so, she will be loved by listeners, who will learn much about not only her but themselves in this stunning album.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Mousey

Mousey is a NZ based musician and songwriter. She was nominated for the APRA Silver Scroll award in 2019 for her first ever single Extreme Highs.




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Mousey

Releases

My Friends
Year: 2022
Type: Album

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