Chris Pratt’s “Parks and Recreation” group to release album


If a band is made up of characters on a TV show but its members actually play the instruments and write the songs, isn’t that just … a band?

The “Parks and Recreation” outfit Mouse Rat, led by Mr. April Ludgate himself, Andy Dwyer (a.k.a. Chris Pratt), is testing the limits of our concept of reality with the scheduled Aug. 27 release of “The Awesome Album.”

The band announced the release via its social media accounts on the 10th anniversary of the funeral of Li’l Sebastian — the beloved miniature horse of Pawnee, Ind. Fittingly, Mouse Rat has made a lyric video for its Li’l Sebastian tribute song, “5,000 Candles in the Wind (Bye Bye Lil Sebastian).” It’s obviously at least 5,000 times better than that Elton John-Bernie Taupin song about Norma Jeane Mortenson, and it’s endorsed by luminaries such as Pawnee’s Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson).

(Haven’t watched “Parks and Rec”? Just go with the mental gymnastics. It’ll all be OK.)

“And though we all miss you every day,” Dwyer sings to his departed “horsiest friend.” “We know you’re up there eating heaven’s hay / But here’s the part that hurts the most / Humans cannot ride a ghost.”

Chris Pratt holds a guitar behind a microphone in front of a birthday banner, with children seated on the ground.

Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer on “Parks and Recreation.”


The album is full of other keen insights, many of which originally appeared in “Parks and Rec” episodes. For instance, fans will recognize “The Pit” as speaking not only to Andy’s troubled state of mind at the time he wrote it but also to the literal pit outside then-girlfriend Ann’s (Rashida Jones) house: “The pit / I was in-a the pit / You were in-a the pit / We all fell in-a the pi-i-it.”

Among the other gems is the touching “Ann’s Song,” sung in a fragile high register that would make Thom Yorke proud: “La de da de da / Da de da de da-a / Da de da de / Ann.”

Mouse Rat would hardly be the first band to begin on a TV show and gain sentient (or semi-sentient) life: One Direction, Fifth Harmony and many others were formed for competition programs. As to more openly fictional units, Jem and the Holograms spawned a movie, the Partridge Family’s hits included “I Think I Love You,” and the Archies had the No. 1 single of 1969 with “Sugar, Sugar,” despite being animated. But none of those can equal the original prefab band that became real boys, the Monkees, a band that sold more than 75 million records (and made an amazing psychedelic film, “Head,” written by Jack Nicholson).

Mouse Rat’s album is to be released via DualTone and Entertainment 720, Pawnee’s “first and only entertainment media conglomerate” co-founded by local entrepreneurs (“nightclub impresarios and marketing masterminds,” per the mission statement): Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) and Jean-Ralphio Saperstein (Ben Schwartz).

The reported track list of “The Awesome Album” contains 15 songs, with Mouse Rat getting a little help from its friends. Mysterious jazz saxophonist and sex symbol Duke Silver (an alias for Ron Swanson, played by Nick Offerman) guests on one track; Pawnee favorites Land Ho! contribute another. Land Ho! frontman Scott Tanner (Jeff Tweedy of Wilco) and Duke Silver make some special alchemy on yet another, “Cold Water.”

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