Believe It Or Not, Musee Mecanique are named after a museum of mechanical toys, from 'Hand cranked music boxes to video games', located at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. (Could have been worse, they might have been called Ripley's!) The band, once of two, but now of five, have a fondness for antique instruments and even play some contrived and experimental devices when on stage. 'We love to make a song that has its own soul, just like the machines they have over at the museum.'
The band have been around since 2006, the original members Micah Rabwin, and Sean Ogilvie grew up as childhood friends. The more recent addition to the ranks has come in the form of three men who bizarrely, or not, all play the Glockenspiel.
Their latest release is poised to coincide with a few live dates here in Blighty. The 'new' single is taken from their debut album Hold This Ghost which was itself released some 2 years ago back in September 2008. The Portland, Oregon, quintet share the same mixer, Tucker Martine, as their fellow zip code addressee, Laura Viers. Whilst the two of them may be in the same folksy ball park, Musee Mecanique have little of the happier vibes that permeate through some of Laura's work.
Fits And Starts is as gentle an introduction as you can get to a band. As laid back as Lamb Chop on tranquillisers, it'll be hard pressed to get even your fingers tapping. The opening few bars could be a new version of The Last Of The Summer Wine score, had the programme (Thankfully) not just uttered its last words. The accordion and acoustic guitar eases you in to a finely crafted tune. The gently voiced, mellow and loving lament is softly textured with harmonies. The instrumentation perfectly accompanies the vocals and the track is produced with a wonderful warmth, however, as nice as it may be it is a little twee and above all a tad dull.
Musee Mecanique are obviously a band who are not inclined to rush things, make impulsive decisions or 'go bull at a gate' so don't be expecting anything radically different any time soon. If you're looking for a slower pace of life with a soundtrack to accompany it, look no further.