...Because I Can

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If any first impressions can be gleaned from the debut of Mice, Julianne Regan's post-All About Eve project, they are most likely mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's a solid record, with solid songwriting, catchy hooks, and plenty of humor and emotion. The opener, "Mat's Prozac" is a biting, sly, and cynical look at emotional assistance through pharmaceutical means, and "Miss World" is an atmospheric song that would have stood out as a gem in the Eves' catalog. While there are other great tunes here ("Star," "The Milkman," and "Bang Bang" to name a few), one can't help thinking that -- and here's the "on the other hand" -- it sounds like a bit of bandwagon jumping. It was the mid-'90s in England, and choppy guitar music was all the rage. There are some very Elastica/Sleeper/Echobelly moments here, and given All About Eve's sudden shoegazing turnaround (Ultraviolet), it's not hard to feel that Regan is caught up in chart madness. That said, ...Because I Can is still an incredibly solid record. If it had been issued earlier, it may have stood out as an "ahead of its time" kind of record. Unfortunately, Regan decided to expose this side of her abilities at a time when the record and group got buried under a pile of similar bands, many of which couldn't match the chops or songs contained on ...Because I Can.

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