Wednesday, December 12, 2012

REVIEW: Trapped Mice - Winter Sun

Winter Sun from Edinburgh's Trapped Mice wears its heart on its sleeve.  And the heart is bruised, melancholy, angst-ridden, uncertain and perhaps a bit scared, although redemption raises its wary head from time to time.  But the music is beautiful none the less, and it is performed with power and sincerity.  And the discerning listener will find humor among the gloom, especially if your sense of wit is best enjoyed like your Martinis.

I'm under no delusion that this music will hit the sweet spot for every listener, as appreciation requires buying-in to the palpable intensity and, ultimately, the vocal style of Ian Tilling.  But at its best, it is the kind of music you drop everything to hear.  Try it out with the song which, for me, is the centerpiece of the album -- the lovely "Mona Lisa".

The genre could loosely be described as chamber pop or alternative folk, but there is a bit of a rougher edge which many have compared to Texas band Okkervil River.  The themes include endings and transitions, and overall the album has a wintry feel that echos the name of the record.

The band is Ian Tilling (vocals and guitar), Dave Friend (guitar and keyboard), Brian Pokora (bass and ukulele), Lucie Miller (violin and keyboard), and Barry Jackson (drums).  While they previously issued a couple of EPs, Winter Sun is their debut album.

Winter Sun was recorded on Ian's computer in his bedroom, but was professionally mastered.  While the result may seem a bit lo-fi, that approach seems to fit the material.

The album is out now on Armellodie Records.  You can stream it in its entirety below.

Twitter ( @trappedmice )

No comments: