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Mice On Stilts - Hope for a Mourning CD (album) cover

HOPE FOR A MOURNING

Mice On Stilts

 

Crossover Prog

3.98 | 121 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars With their second album release, Mice on Stilts has improved and polished their recorded sound dramatically. The music here sounds like a cross between BON IVER and THE DAVE MATTHEWS BAND merged with the more atmospheric sides of ULVER and TOBY DRIVER. The songwriting is more diverse on this album and each song has far more depth in terms of sound development and exploration. This is the kind of growth and improvement one likes to see from a young band!

1. "Khandallah" (6:50) one of the most powerful album opening songs ever! (15/15)

2. "Orca" (8:10) opens with the first 90 seconds sounding like a nice DAVE MATTHEWS song. A great ULVER-like key change at the three minute mark--and then the awesome shift in which a chorale of voices join in to sing the chorus at the end of the fourth minute. An ambient section of reverse guitar notes gives a brief break before sax-led full-band section reintegrates us with the main motif. Awesome Post Rock-like finale of building sound over a repeating chord progression. (14.25/15)

3. "The Hours" (3:45) a gently picked steel string guitar opens this song before some tinkling piano notes join in as Ben sings with his lower register voice mixed quite forward of the guitar and piano. Definitely more of a folk song. (8/10)

4. "And We Saw His Needs Through The Casket" (6:43) opens with solo piano establishing a gorgeous albeit haunting and depressing song foundation. It sounds almost classical. Ben starts to sing toward the end of the first minute in a very deep, almost Tom Waits-like voice. Multiple voices and horns join in for the second verse. The lead vocal is amazing with its emotion and intent but then add in the choral voices as And then at the four minute mark the song shifts completely with upper octave shifting piano dyads, bass and guitar chords providing the new base for an all-chorale lead. Powerful and amazing! Simply has to be heard in order to understand! (14.25/15)

5. "YHWH" (7:20) opens as a quite, delicate guitar-based song before going full "metal" around the one minute mark with loud, sustained distorted electric guitar strums. This reminds me of KAYO DOT or OCEANSIZE! Especially with its sparse vocals and predominantly instrumental nature. (13.5/15)

6. "Hope For A Mourning" (6:40) The finish is very GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR-like in its orchestrated feel but then finishes with--surprise!--almost a full minute of silence allowed at the end of the song. (13.5/15)

7. "Funeral" (11:40) A wonderfully paced song in which the music and vocal and story are perfectly matched in telling this very emotional story. Reminds me a lot of sound and feel from the debut STARSABOUT album also reviewed on this page as well as some of THE CURE's more emotional music on "Disintegration" and after. A perfect song and probably my favorite on this amazing and excellent album. (20/20)

8. "Monarch" (6:20) simple, soft, spacious, atmospheric, yet amazingly melodic and emotional, this is an awesome ULVER or TALK TALK like song and a perfect ending to this beautiful and amazingly emotional journey! Thank you, Benjamin! This is exactly what music--or any art--in it's most perfect form should do! (10/10)

Total Time 56:21

What makes this album so exciting, so masterful, is the numerous "unexpecteds": unexpected key or chord changes, unexpected dynamic shifts, unexpected instrumental uses or shifts, unexpected vocal stylings, unexpected recording techniques, and, of course, unexpected lyrical directions. So refreshing and often flamboyantly breathtaking! How weird is it that the shortest and simplest song is the "worst"?!!

Five stars; an undeniable masterpiece of progressive rock music.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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