Most rock music is too rigid to work well as a sustained instrumental form. The results range from uninteresting (Dirty Three) to intermittently infuriating (The Dead). The absurdly named post-rock camp receives plenty of deserved flak for such redundancy, yet several groups transcend the genre. Master practitioners Tortoise certainly had a lasting influence on Adam Pierce, who formed the Dylan Group with Dylan Christy before beginning his solo project, Mice Parade.
Obrigado Saudade, his fifth album in five years, sounds nothing like Brazil, but Pierce’s eclectic mix showcases several of his friends and collaborators along with a constantly evolving musical sensibility. The nylon guitar/vibraphone cut “Here Today” supports appealing vocals by a Kristin Anna and ends with a beautiful medley of simultaneous finger-picking. Pierce expands his influences with the Fennesz-like ambience of “Guitars for Plants” and the brief My Bloody Valentine riff that ends “Focus on the Roller Coaster.” He’s not an impressive vocalist, but most of the album works well without lyrics. A few tracks feel as if they are incomplete, lacking some sort of additional element, but Pierce’s soundtracks are more interesting than any extended six-string squeals I’ve heard lately.