Sunday, February 19, 2006

Record Review: Ghost Mice - Europe

Ghost Mice’s Europe is a concept album that centres around the band’s holiday in Europe. While tuneful and imaginative, the album suffers because of the monotonousness of both the lyrics and the music.

Ghost Mice play folk rock similar to the Mountain Goats. That may sound like lazy journalism, but it’s hard not to contrast Chris’ nasally intonation with that of the Mountain Goat’s John Darnielle. But the comparison is more than apt when you also consider Ghost Mice’s penchant for chimey acoustic guitars, the literary nature of their lyrics and their boisterous melodies.

However, Ghost Mice don’t draw from as broad a musical palette as the Mountain Goats. Each song seems tedious, even before sitting through Europe once. Structurally, each song is similar to the last and the band’s refusal to include a chorus in each song precludes them from ever hooking the audience.

Lyrically, Europe is wearisome and often cloy. Each song on the album represents a country or sea they crossed during their journey, detailing the events of that part of the journey, making te album a musical slide show of sorts. While it’s hard to fault the band when they’re so earnest and genial, but it feels like they’re trying to romanticize their D.I.Y. ethos and the nature of man at times. The lyrics become a little too stream-of-consciousness, at one point they evoked recollections of that episode of the Family Guy where the Griffins met Randy Newman and he earned their wrath by improvising a song about Lois eating an apple in excessive detail.

Two thumbs up.


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