Parlovr – [Album]

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

In the last twenty years, there has been no shortage of bands who have tried to find a soothing and serene balance between melody and dissonant texture but, other than Sonic Youth (who has the best track record to date, but even that isn't flawless), few have actually managed to pull it off. 'Few' is more than 'none' though, which means that Parlovr has joined a very select group with the release of their self-titled debut.

And what a debut it is. Parlovr makes its intentions understood instantly as the opening ethereal build of of “Pen To The Paper” gets smashed wide open by singer Alex Cooper's hopefully hopeless and gloriously atonal guitars. In that, the band has allied itself with new rock greats including Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, Mission Of Burma and Arcade Fire and – can you believe it? – they do 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.

That's the introductions made, but Parlovr shows listeners it wasn't a fluke when they do it ten more times on this album.

The thing about Parlovr is that, while 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. The band 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; Parlovr plays far more organically and comes off as more sinewy than either) leaves lots of nooks and crannies for listeners to explore and they'll find themselves reveling in the possibilities those spaces represent. It is, in a word, fun to run back and for between those spaces and melodies with the band; that process also guarantees that Parlovr will have listeners flocking back for future releases to see what landscapes the band will have designed and play through next.


Further Reading:
Ground Control's interview with Parlovr singer Alex Cooper.


Parlovr is out now and available as a Canadian Import. Buy it here on Amazon .

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