Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
The Mice Volume 1
Hometown CD Review 9-8-05
Album name: Volume One (2005)
On their debut album, the Mice play fast indie punk that comes across as wannabe grunge. They did pay attention to the crafting of each song's melody line. There is an aspect of blink circa Cheshire Cat buried inside some of the chords of "Life Crisis" and "Gotta Get Away."
Each composition has vintage guitar riffs that propel upbeat punk with an indie flair. While each cut sounds a lot like mainstream pop-punk/indie groups, the disc lacks the playfulness that is linked to the genre. This is where the Mice's feigned grunge persona comes into conflict with the rest of the group's image.
The band's lyrics are pretentious -- verbose and simplistic. These lines from "Speak to Me" are as deep as the trio probes: "What you doin' / yeah I don't wanna understand / lots of feelings / I cannot comprehend / the things you do and what you say / about what you mean to me / please my dear / make me clear when you speak to me." The vocal range of frontman Rob Logic wavers between flat and monotone. His repetition of the line "you're the one for me" 17 times in "Sunny Day" -- a song that endures for over two minutes -- is reason enough to lunge for the eject button.
The Mice do have a distinctive way of approaching a song. The problem is that they strive for difference and create an unnatural sound that's too forced to look past.