UNPEELED NOVEMBER 2014
ONWARDS, TO THE PRESENT!
DANCING MICE "QUIZ CULTURE" (SQUEAK AUDIO)
RELEASED? 1st December.
SOUNDS LIKE? A varied selection from the late sixties, all of the seventies
and doggedly on to the present and that's where we find Dancing Mice sounding
very much like Dancing Mice. An entirely unhelpful description to those of you
who have been unlucky enough to stumble about without a Dancing Mice record to
your name. So, let's do the right thing and the easy thing by suggesting that
on "Ellanor" they sound like a much better Al Stewart, apart from the vocals,
obviously, and on "Red Star" it sounds like Ringo Starr channeling Alan Sillitoe,
that's fun, but "Hide And Seek" is a crisp bit of folky-prog guff that sounds
like Yes and Harry Chapin have been run through the same blender. Even so, the
favourite has to be the sparse and jangled twitch of "Helen And Paris", a neat
bit of work that sees one of the worlds most tragic and irresistible love matches
spun into kitchen sink drudgery, this time we're thinking that Ray Davies could
provide your handy and comforting comparison, but only when twinned with early
Moody Blues. You'll know by now that Dancing Mice are every shade of excellent
and provide a tantalising glimpse of what can happen when a band grow and mature
together, unbothered and unspoilt by massive commercial success, so they're
something to handle with care, but please do handle them, or least stick them
in your ears.
IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes.
WHERE IS IT? www.dancingmice.co.uk
TERRASCOPE DECEMBER 2014
I liked 2012's "13 Difficult Lessons" by Scottish quirky pop band Dancing Mice, and here they are for a new album "Quiz Culture" - their third (sic). As before, the mood is poppy, slightly ramshackle (in the best way) and full of charm. Synth-pop opener 'Eleanor' begins the album with its heart-warming lyrics and keyboard riffs. 'The Backroom Boys' achieves a nice balance of guitars and synths, while 'Red Star' is a weirdly woozy shuffling number. 'Heaven And Hell' pits a thrumming piano with dark and slightly doomy lyrics for another quite trippy song, while 'North Star' (a favourite on this album for me) mixes plangent saxophone with Spanish style guitars; cleverly done! 'Hide And Seek' is another album highlight, I think, with its flanged guitars underpinning effected vocals. Album closer 'Helen And Paris' mixes Greek myth with the ordinary stuff of 2014 life - which is the theme of the album. There is quirkiness, style and originality a-plenty here.
SCOTS WHAY HAE JANUARY 2015
End Of The Year Show: A Round Up Of The Best New Music From December..
December has a reputation as not being the best month for new music as
it is even harder to be heard against the Best of Captain & Tennille
and Now That's What I Call Music 3,451, but there are always gems to
discover, and the following are a few of the best examples. I know, I
know - it's nearly the end of January, but apparently time flies when
it gets dark at 4pm. No excuses, just good music.
The opening bars of 'Eleanor' by Dancing Mice remind me of 'Since Yesterday'
by Strawberry Switchblade, which is a great thing to be reminded of. It then
goes to be a glorious example of the sort of wistful melodic pop music that
Scots' bands seem to do so well. It's taken from their new album Quiz Culture,
which is a great collection of memorable tunes. If you like The Pastels,
BMX Bandits and Belle and Sebastian, and I know you do, then you'll love what
Dancing Mice do, and there's also hints of the more pastoral side of XTC and
The Icicle Works. But back to 'Eleanor'. I've been listening to it most days
since the first time and it just gets better and better with every listen.
It's a song to fall in love with, and to, if you're lucky.
PENNYBLACKMUSIC APRIL 2015
Understated yet poetic and compelling sixth album from Edinburgh-based band, Dancing Mice
Dancing Mice, who are stylish Scotsmen from Edinburgh, have crafted with 'Quiz Culture' an album which combines melody with poetic lyrics. It has been set to music with great knowledge of, and insight into, the elegance of what has become known as quintessential British eccentricity. Though 'Red Star' may be a strumming guitar protest against just that, 'Heaven and Hell' then dissolves any doubts that we could have had there. Religious undertones come to the rescue here which, however, make the music sounds even greater still. Seemingly odd patterns slowly start to make sense now, such as on the excellent 'North Star' for example.
The intrinsic beauty and the poetry, which is hidden beneath a tarnish of soft-toned post new wave, come to full effect on 'Hide and Seek' - another highlight on 'Quiz Culture', an album with no lowpoints. On 'Twinkle' it sounds as if monks in retreat were chanting after congregation when the church organ began to reverberate in an eerie fashion. Subdued at the start, 'Quiz Culture' comes to a sparkling close on 'Helen and Paris', a lovely Valentine banjo tune, with a subtle brass arrangement
Don't hesitate to play 'Quiz Culture' very loud. The arrangements are in perfect balance. It will upset the neighbours. Pleasantly. It is an album which breathes empathy and fully deserves your sympathy.