The Nields

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'Mousse Review

by Ethan Alter

'Mousse is definitely a "for fans only" kind of record; the Nields themselves basically say as much in the album's liner notes. And they're right. Casual listeners won't get very much from this mixtape of an album, but long-time fans will definitely flip for all the goodies the Nields have been kind enough to put down on disc. In fact, 'Mousse was born out of fans' demands for recorded versions of songs that the band often performs live, but have never put on an album. Hence the eclectic range of material you'll find here, from older songs like "39 Orange Street" and "Julia (Not Julia)" to odd ditties like "I Hate MCI" to a live recording of the band's signature song, "Superhero Soup." Devotees of Moxy Fruvous will recognize the concept of 'Mousse as being similar to Moxy's B and C albums, where the band threw a batch of their most bizarre and humorous tunes (their B-sides if you will) on discs for their die-hard followers. This is a lot more substantial than those two records, however. The Nields obviously put a lot of time and effort into choosing what would go on the album, sifting through their live performances and old recordings to find songs that would be of genuine interest to fans. At 18 tracks, the album does feel a little too packed at times, but because each song has such an interesting history attached to it, its difficult to pick out the ones that should have been cut. And each fan will have their own idea of what is an essential track. For every person who dislikes "Dictator," another will prize it for being the first song that the now-married Katrina Nields and David Chalfant wrote together. The one inclusion that no one will argue with is the live version of "Superhero Soup," a song that hasn't been heard on a Nields album since their very first, 66 Hoxey Street. It's a wonderfully spirited rendition, sung with gusto by David Nields, and sends 'Mousse out on a high note.

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