That description fits Boise fivesome Mousy Brown quite well. The self-described purveyors of “Bill Cosby rock” (whatever that means) deliver guitar/bass/drum rock funked up by keyboard and lifted to indie heights by singer Steven Toney’s sweet, high voice.
Seated around a table at Eli’s Italian Deli on a weekday afternoon, with Journey’s “Open Arms” wailing from overhead, Ben Clingan, Joziah Curry, Connor Robinson, Mike Swain and Toney couldn’t look any different from each other. But there’s a comfort level surrounding them that comes with familiarity and the pursuit of a singular goal. On Friday, Oct. 10, they will celebrate what they consider the “launch of Mousy Brown” with a show at Knitting Factory for the release of their debut full-length, Bronze Turbo. They'll be joined by locals Soul Serene and Rebecca Scott.
All five guys feel that Bronze Turbo is the perfect introduction to Mousy Brown.
“We’re walking away from this pretty darn ... it exceeded expectations,” Swain said.
“We’ll know if we can do better in maybe a year,” Robinson added.
What they hope people take away from that first meeting or, better yet, a Mousy Brown show, is an individual connection to the music. Like their band name, their songs are named more so that they can identify them than with any deep, metaphorical meaning in mind.
“The songs are the songs. We want people to add their own meaning to them,” Swain said. “The songs are up to interpretation by anyone who listens to them. Each one of us have our own personal meaning, but there is no definable, this song is about this type of thing ... every song expresses a different emotion and a different mood."
That kind of throw-it-up-in-the-air-and-see-where-it-lands approach to an album’s intention can result in a kind of chaos, something dangerous for a band’s debut release, but it can also show a band’s range. Right out of the gate, Bronze Turbo opens with the Minus The Bear-esque “The 115” and segues right into an instrumental interlude where saxophone that will show up across much of the rest of the album first shows up. But then a track like “Jared The Gray” could be labeled a straight-up rock song as the guitars wail from start to finish and Toney redlines his vocals.
Whatever the songs are called, whatever the feelings they invoke, Mousy Brown’s sound is different from that of other bands in the local scene. That is in part why Knitting Factory general manager Ryan Collis was happy to host their CD release party.
“Mousy Brown has a unique sound. I like the way that it’s very melodic but still rockin’,” Collis said. “I think they have a really good sound for young guys just getting rolling.”
Collis couldn’t say enough about Mousy Brown’s professionalism and work ethic. He called them in last minute when one of Minus The Bear’s opening acts got stranded in Salt Lake City.
“They showed up, no complaints, no questions about getting paid or getting fed,” Collis said. “They didn’t ask for anything, they were just ecstatic to be opening for Minus The Bear. And they killed it. They did such a great job, I told them I wanted to get them in for a headlining show.”
Collis thinks if Mousy Brown does need to do anything, it’s to polish up their stage presence. That’s good advice since Mousy Brown plans to do some touring this fall.