Welcome to Tuesday Tunesday, our weekly look at an awesome local act that you should start listening to immediately. First up: Mike Pace and Child Actors
The world is an unreasonable place, which is the only way to explain why mid-2000s indie rockers Oxford Collapse broke up without becoming the biggest pop act in the world. Throughout four albums — two on Williamsburg-based Kanine Records and another two on legendary Seattle label Sub Pop — and a handful of EPs, over roughly seven years, Oxford Collapse put together some of the smartest and most infectious tracks of that period, but ultimately never gained much traction and split in 2009.
Fast-forward through 2014, and frontman Mike Pace is back in Brooklyn after an obligatory move to Austin and an unexpectedly fun podcast with “Best Boy,” the new album from his band Mike Pace and the Child Actors. Its been a long wait, but the Long Island-born songwriter might be putting out the best work of his career.
In “Best Boy,” Pace put together an album he describes in part as a look at the promises made to his generation, and “Best Boy” spends a lot of time feeling disappointed, or at least let down, by how those promises went unfulfilled. On “Summer Lawns,” he talks about driving “on highways past abandoned stores stocking things we always wanted but could not afford.” Anthemic album-opener “Up The Academy” works as a sort of thesis statement on this theme: “And we hope and we pray like we did yesterday that everything’s gonna be fine, but we’re slipping like a wristwatch that’s barely keeping time.”
Pace, as he did on the Oxford Collapse b-side “Spike of Bensonhurst,” provides a wink to NYC nerds with “King of Corona,” and on the folky “Southern Cordial,” sings, “After the days of wine and roses you cut through my heart like Robert Moses.“
The latter song is also a good example of how Pace dances between musical genres on the mostly-sunny piano rock album, sometimes straddling the lines of pop punk and synth, country and folk. The album never feels like one thing.
The band also pops up on the great cassette-comp “Serious Rockers,” put together by WFMU DJ Paul Bruno. That track, “Everyone Out of the Car,” is easily one of the comp’s best.
It’s been more than five years since we’ve gotten any new music from Mike Pace. With his new work as the Child Actors Pace proves the wait was worth it.