Mice & Rifles
Beginner's Luck (Wagonmaker)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., April 11, 2008
Mice & RiflesBeginner's Luck (Wagonmaker)
Following 2006's fine All Kites Up, Mice & Rifles' second EP proves the local sextet more unified and polished, guitars squealing to the fore on ironic anthem "Carefree Americans" and brooding "The Only One." Though still not quite capturing their live country-rock assault of indignation, Beginner's Luck maintains its power in the percolating intensity of Kevin Brinkkoeter's low growl. Seething in a bittersweet scowl and furrowed by Phil McJunkins' pedal steel, Brinkkoeter's voice cracks on waltzing closer "Glass Homes" with the acerbic wit of lines like: "Let me digress, to when we first kissed. We were carving stones, while we were living in glass homes." Before that, "Shall Remain" pensively grapples mortality ("My mind is thinking things that my younger mind would never dare"), and "No Longer Love" churns heartache against resignation. No luck to it; Mice & Rifles fire with steel-eyed precision.