Lia Mice describes her sound as ‘experimental pop’ and experimentation is certainly something she has embraced in every sense of the word. From dipping her toes into the subterranean world of Australian punk and soul to embracing the art noise scene during her relocation to Brooklyn. Her self-produced debut LP Happy New Year saw her travel the globe taking in the sights of Australia, Japan, USA and Europe.
Her trademark ‘art pop’ sound is reflected through her choice of often unconventional venues, which include; pop-up venues, Manhattan’s Museum of Arts and Design, and a Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Happy New Year experimented with sound from big cinematic productions to mesmerizing slow tempos that Time Out Tokyo called ‘narcoleptic pop’ in her honour.
The tour finished in France and upon missing her flight back to Brooklyn in true Lia fashion she spontaneously relocated to Lyon to write her new album. I Love You LP was recorded on her return to Brooklyn a year later with producer Daniel James Schlett (Ghostfacekillah, Amen Dunes). Surprisingly for a synth fuelled genre this album was performed with a live band that was edited to give the impression of machines.
The album opens with her previously released track Our Heavy Heart. Lia’s eerie vocal begins and is heightened with reverb which is joined by a solitary drum beat. The mixture of her monotone delivery and the melancholic lyrics here set a sombre mood, “The rain will come and wash away our heavy heart will beat again”. The influence of her time at DJ sets in Europe is evident with a hint of heavy synth that somehow manages not to overshadow the sense of mourning in the song.
Lucky Bamboo is a more upbeat number with the beginning sounding like a nod to one of the forerunners of art-rock, Bat for Lashes. Her voice on this track is sweet with a choral-like agility to it, “lucky bamboo what do you do if it’s not a game how can you lose”. The album then seamlessly wanders into a more experimental sound with the track We Live out of Sight. We are instantly hit with a rough-cut garage beat that is soothed by Lia’s haunting vocal creating a more progressive sound than previously seen on the album.
The track Saint-Malo is probably the most ‘rock’ on the album kicking in with a bass guitar riff accompanied by a catchy drum beat. There is a sense of Groundhog-day like repetition to the track with the beats and her vocal remaining steady throughout. The lyrics also only vary slightly adding to the feeling of recurrence “whatever I say we will move, we will move again. Whatever we do we’ll destroy it, we’ll destroy it again”.
The closing track That Spanish Spring delves deeper than any other into the developmental art-pop genre. The array of sounds used carries the listener to a futuristic galaxy (think Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey). This is one of the most upbeat pop tracks on the album with a Blondie-esque tone coming through in her voice.
The album is a clear transition from Lia’s first offering with her life experiences and travel adventures heavily influencing her work. Dance tempos from Lia’s time spent at bizarre DJ sets throughout Europe are evident here. This album is a treat to the senses; it is a real mixed bag you never quite know what you’ll get next which makes for a stimulating listen from start to finish. Lia Mice is fast becoming one of the pioneers of experimental pop with her eccentric lifestyle and her jois de vivre adding an element of intrigue to everything she does. The LP has just been released on Old Flame Records.