‘Parastrophics’ is unstoppable. After six years Mouse on Mars grace us with a true return to form. Six years is a long time, particularly when dealing with electronic music. Mouse on Mars never concerned themselves with hip genres or popularity. Indeed they forged a path mixing hyperactive beats, sweet melodies, and an obvious love for dub. This may be the perfect moment for Mouse on Mars. With the surge of ‘Dubstep’ and ‘Chillwave’, Mouse on Mars has a unique chance to capitalize on what it’s been doing so well for so long. Dub is popular. Chillwave is receptive to their charming, weird melodies. It helps that this is their strongest release in over a decade.
In some ways this album feels like a follow up to my personal favorite album of theirs, ‘Idiology’, released in 2001. 2001 saw many great IDM albums, like ‘Confield’ by Autechre and ‘Drukqs’ by Aphex Twin. Both of those are fine, but Idiology’s endearing weirdness makes me return to it years after its release. There’s something human about that album that neither ‘Confield’ or ‘Drukqs’ can match.
After Idiology I grew worried about Mouse on Mars. First, ‘Radical Connector’ felt too repetitive and slick for my tastes. Gone were all those lovable twists and turns. They were edited out for a smoother sound. ‘Varcharz’ pointed to a re-energized Mouse on Mars, with a few worthy tracks, yet it felt too dark. Sure there was the energy but where was the cheerful quality of their old style?
With ‘Parastrophics’ the light has returned. Giddy gurgles go by at a rapid pace. The record pays homage to a warped kind of dance music. Club music never sounded so positively distorted.‘Parastrophics’ displays a playful funky quality throughout its short duration. On the opening song they rush out of the gate. Eventually this transforms into a weird shuffle reminiscent of Flying Lotus, with a cheesy orchestra put through a countless number of filters. It is an early highlight. ‘Wienuss’ reminds me of the ‘Knight Rider’ theme injected into a cartoon. Yeah, it is delightfully mad. Towards the end it gets amazing on ‘Polyroyced’, back to the Mouse on Mars I remember and love. There is a shiny, chugging melody that is already stuck in my head. And that’s not to mention the samples, which grace nearly every song.
Every second is completely packed. In other words, Mouse on Mars is back.