Aug 11, 2023 - Music

Mipso returns with adventurous new album "Book of Fools"

Mipso members, left to right: Wood Robinson, Joseph Terrell, Libby Rodenbough and Jacob Sharp. Photo: Courtesy of Mipso

The popular Chapel Hill Americana group Mipso is returning with their sixth album this month — and while the band's patented group vocals remain, they're joined this time by electric guitars and Moog synthesizers.

  • It all adds up to their most laid-back and groove-driven record yet.

Driving the news: "Book of Fools" comes out Aug. 25.

It's Mipso's first album since the pandemic, and comes after the longest break the band has had since it formed at UNC in 2011.

What they're saying: For a band that has been going at full speed for a decade, the break allowed the group to return refreshed and with new ideas, Joseph Terrell, vocalist and guitarist for Mipso, told Axios.

  • "We had a year of touring that we canceled and we hadn't done anything since then," Terrell said. "I guess we had a bunch of pent up band energy."

What's next: Mipso begins their North American tour next week, and it includes a four-show run through North Carolina in September, with stops at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro and the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh.

Axios talked with Terrell over the phone about the new album. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Several members of Mipso — you, Libby Rodenbough and Jacob Sharp — made solo albums during the band's layoff. Did that help the writing process for this album?

  • I think it lowered the stakes. Like, in other words, what happened in the studio that week doesn't completely determine every song I sing for the next two years, you know? Having another place to put songs just frees you up.

Did you know you wanted to evolve Mipso's sound when you went into the studio?

  • I don't think we've ever gone into a record and said, 'This is exactly what we want to do."
  • Part of the fun and I think part of what necessarily makes for an honest record making process is seeing what comes from putting your heads together in a particular moment, a particular space with these people in this phase of life. We kind of discovered it all together when we got to the studio in California.

What were your influences when playing together this time?

  • I love watching not just a songwriter with a backing band, but a band that really knows each other. Like my icons in that department are like Fairport Convention and The Band. A lot of that is informing how I think about playing with the members of Mipso.
  • And then we brought out a lot of new ingredients to our process. I've been playing a lot more electric guitar and Libby's been playing a lot more piano. And so we're getting much more of live-rock band oriented thing in the recording.

Will you be reinventing your old songs with new arrangements for the tour?

  • We recently spent one whole day just reinventing old songs. It's not like trying to make them more rock or trying to give it a different speed. It's more like we got to renovate the kitchen. Like I've been looking at that faucet for 10 years, and I'd feel more excited by the space with something different.
  • When we started this band, we had no idea what we were really doing. We've spent the last decade actually becoming pretty good musicians.
  • I'm excited for folks to hopefully look at us fresh again.

Pre-order "Book of Fools" here.


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