The Drovers

Kill Mice Elf

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On this EP, the Drovers eschewed their original Celtic folk in favor of a darker progressive rock sound, relying more on Middle Eastern influences than the Irishisms of Drovers past. All but one of the five tracks are marked by an ominous minor-key mysticism, with twisting violin solos, electric guitars that ring like alarm bells, and aggressively jangling exotic percussion. The only song that resembles the Drover's old acoustic material is the laidback "Thanks for the Ring," and even it isn't particularly Celtic. The band seems to derive a certain satisfaction from startling fans of their previous sound. In concert, guitarist Mike Kirkpatrick has been known to respond to requests for the old folky stuff with mischievous smirks and long, unmelodic, buzzy jams. This impish independence is undoubtedly at the heart of the Drovers' disinterest in major-label deals (even though the major labels have shown interest). It may also explain their slightly twisted sense of humor: the title "Kill Mice Elf" is a reference to Sly & the Family Stone's jubilant funk song "Thank You Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Agin." The juxtaposition is emblematic of their newfound taste for morbidity.

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