This Is Parlovr.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Since indie rock in all its forms and glories first began to break onto the mainstream radar, those drawn to the music have noticed an unusual occurrence: while some fans might have been right on top of the game and “in it” since the very beginning, they find themselves joined at shows by a whole new mass of new fans drawn in by the band after they got a greater amount of exposure. As soon as they appear, the first inclination for new fans is to assume that the band in question had simply not been there before and the excitement that the “new release” is generating is, at least in some ways, very genuine. Such is not always the case however, because that “new release” has actually been available at the shows of the band in question, or on a much smaller label with limited distribution. Longer-time fans tend to balk regularly at the newbies for the simple fact that they just showed up, but some of the bands that have enjoyed such a mass “discovery” take it as a blessing; in some cases, that band is offered the opportunity to present their material in its finest form, after it has been hammered flat on stage for a couple of years before that group of original fans. In effect, the band in question has the opportunity to literally get a second chance to make a first impression. Such has been precisely the sort of occurrence that Parlovr has experienced since the wider release of their debut self-titled album. “It's kind of cool to watch it now, because it really does feel like we're getting a second chance with this album,” echoes Parlovr singer/guitarist Alex Cooper. “Dine Alone has essentially reissued an album that we originally released in 2008 now, on March 23rd. It's almost two years old but, when we originally recorded it we had pretty much just started the band so it was all really fresh to us then and we still play a few of the songs from that record live.

“It's been really interesting to see how things have developed now,” continues the singer, “because we come from a really DIY indie background and, so when we released it the first time ourselves, we just dropped it off at independent record shops wherever we were touring and mailed it out to college radio stations. Everyone really dug it, but it's hard to create a publicity engine when you're just three guys and you have day-jobs. Those that did get to hear it really loved it though, and we're hoping it'll get an even broader audience with a similar response. Even looking at it as a re-release, we still think it's a good album so it's cool to see it reissued on a national scale with proper distribution and everything. It feels like it's being given an extra life – if you will.”

If any record in recent memory deserved that sort of second chance, it is Parlovr's debut. The record makes its intentions understood instantly as the opening ethereal build of of “Pen To The Paper” gets smashed wide open by Cooper's hopefully hopeless and gloriously atonal guitars instantly. That instantly potent introduction recalls the early days of such new rock greats as Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, Mission Of Burma and Arcade Fire but, even better than that, Parlovr does it with style to boot; the stringy guitars and lean synths crest and crash hard against Louis Jackon's more rock-solid (like a reef) guitars and Jeremy MacCuish's simple but imposing beats. The design genuinely does feel as easy, impartial and unforgiving as a force of nature; an impression further felt when a listener understands how easily it seemed to happen. While it's by no stretch of the imagination a poppy record (“On The Phone,” “Speech Bubble/Thought Cloud” and “Sever My Ties” are the closest the band gets here), it is wildly infectious and each track is memorable because the band makes their loose arrangements a hook in themselves. On each track, Parlovr injects fantastic snippets of melody at key moments (check out the “I'll be dead before dawn” line in “Sever My Ties”) that keep listeners running to catch them every time they cross the speakers. As soon as those moments fade, listeners are free to trail off again before again rushing back for another inspired moment. It's an odd process, but one that causes listeners to try and absorb all of the sound rather than focus on a single particular part which certainly makes it an effective device. The surprisingly enormous sound (the earlier Arcade Fire/Modest Mouse comparisons reference the size of the sound this band sounds more sinewy than either of those) leaves lots of nooks and crannies for listeners to explore and they'll find themselves reveling in the possibilities those spaces represent. Simply said, it's fun to run back and for between those spaces and melodies with the band, and that process also guarantees that Parlovr will have listeners flocking back for future releases to see what landscapes the band will have designed to play through next.

That's cool and maybe even exciting enough to say but, according to Cooper, those won over by PARLOVR actually won't have to wait long for some new music. “We really want to put out as much material as we can,” states the singer bluntly, letting his band's ambition channel through his voice and manner. “There are two songwriters in the band – myself and Louis [guitarist Louis Jackson –ed] – and we're always writing things; whether it's for Parlovr or not, we're always writing when we're at home so it's a pretty constant flow of productivity. We're excited to have PARLOVR out now on Dine Alone, but we're not pandering to the re-release – we're not letting that determine what we play live.

“To be honest, I think our live show is less about fans wanting to hear one song or another anyway,” says the singer. “The shows just sort of explode and the energy that is there in all of the songs that we write so it works out even if we're introducing a new song. It still maintains that energy that was so integral to the first record and the material that we've been playing for the couple of years since then too. The fans that we've made with the re-release but haven't been able to catch a show yet are going to be able to judge that for themselves pretty soon; we've actually just finished another EP that we're going to call Hell/Heaven and we're going to add more material to a second album that we hope to start recording as soon as possible. We're really hoping to have that recorded and maybe released by the end of this year.”


Further Reading:
PARLOVR album review on Ground Control.

Parlovr's self-titled debut is available now as a Canadian import. Buy it here on Amazon .

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