Mice Parade are a band of no fixed address: Adam Pierce is trained as an ethnomusicologist, and incorporates a global palette of ideas into his compositions. (His last album, for example, led off with “Kupanda,” sung in Swahili.) Fittingly, Pierce named his seventh album Candela, after an unassuming Madrid bar populated by flamenco guitarists.
Pierce is an assimilator, not an impressionist, however, and there is only a whiff of Andalusian influence on Candela. Instead, Pierce’s attention is drawn to flamenco’s odd time signatures and dense polyrhythms, which he filters through off-kilter, atmospheric indie rock. Fans of Sonic Youth, Gastr del Sol and Slint will find much to admire on Candela‘s dramatic-yet-economical “Pretending,” and “This River Has a Tide,” a stormy, dreamlike mini-suite. Each time collaborator Caroline Lufkin’s piercing soprano appears throughout the album — slivers of light breaking through some very moody surroundings — she immediately recalls Kazu Makino’s early vocal work for discordant New York art-punks Blonde Redhead. Candela may the product of wanderlust, but Pierce resists mere slideshow posturing. Far from a compendium of field notes, Candela is the latest melancholic travelogue from a musician who finds it impossible to settle down for long.