Adam Pierce has been releasing albums at a rather blazing speed for the past several years under the name of Mice Parade. Influenced by everything from South American music to Chicago-styled post rock to electronic, each one of his full-length releases has gotten progressively better and more interesting. Obrigado Saudade is the 5th full-length from the group and despite being much more of a musical hodge-podge than anything else he's released to date, it again pushes forward into new territory for some truly amazing moments.
Marking one interesting step, the album starts out with a vocal track (a first for the group). Kristin Anny Valtysdottir from Múm (who Pierce occasionally plays drums for) adds barely-there vocals to the delicate track of plucked guitar and pattering percussion. It's a fairly nice warmup, but fails to engage much. "Mystery Brethren" moves into more familiar territory, unfolding slowly over the course of almost 12 minutes as basslines snake and guitar and cheng bounce back and forth to create unique melodic patterns.
It's on "Focus On A Rollercoaster" where the album really hits stride, though. Although it's easily the most straightforward pop-sounding track that Pierce has ever done (including vocals), it's an absolutely stunning mixture of delayed piano, strummed guitars, and pinging bass that really injects some urgency into the album. "And Still It Sits In Front Of You" follows it up with another shorter vocal track, and again it's pulled off nicely with subdued vocals and instrumentation that has just enough flourishes to keep it interesting.
From there, the album is actually at its best when it moves away from what was done on previous albums. "Out Of The Freedom World" is too similar to similarly-named tracks on Mokoondi to really stand out, but the ultra-thick rhythm section (overdriven keyboard and hyper drumming) vs ambient outbursts of "Wave Greeting" are a gem. "Milton Road" sounds like it's going to be a fairly ordinary coffee-house strummer, but bursts forth into shimmering walls of haze before morphing into something even more beautiful. In the end, it's still a good album, but a bit more inconsistent than some of the more focused earlier work. Still a great album, but it feels more like a transitional album than the next level for the group.