I have kind of made it a personal rule that I wouldn’t devote an entire column to the same band twice. I mean, I have mentioned a lot of the same bands several times in the show listings and when I do a list column, but I have actually tried very hard to spread out my focus as much as I can (You could argue that I have a column about both Maxilla Blue and BumRap even though they are pretty much the same thing. I would argue that they aren’t the same thing and then ask you why you have memorized all of my work and then I would thank you for being so studious and for being a Dave Murphy completist. Then I would blush.) I have failed in a lot of aspects when it comes to spreading out my coverage, but I have tried. You can’t say that I haven’t tried.
Today, I break my rule and discuss a band that I have already spoke of. Back in January of this year, I spoke of the folk-pop collective Parlours and their self titled EP. Now, some 8 months later, they have released a full length, and I liked it so much I decided to tell you all about it. This violates my own personal rules, and I am nothing if not a complete slave to my own code. This should tell you how excited I was to listen to it.
When I have time to just sit down and listen to music lately, not to review and not for column ideas (and if you have noticed, I haven’t exactly had a lot of column ideas; sorry ‘bout that), but just to listen, I have found myself drawn towards a lot of epic, multi-instrumental folk/pop. I’m not sure if I just like the calming effect, the fact that a lot of it seems so grandiose that it makes me feel like I’m involved with something important or if it is just that a lot of artists have been making a lot of great work within that genre. So when I found out that Parlours had released a full length album, I jumped on the chance to listen to it.
Parlours does a lot of things well. The harmony is solid, the instrumentals incredible the production superb. I think the thing they do the best, though, is how they use Dana Halferty’s voice. She has this wonderfully ethereal quality that makes every song seem like it comes from another plane of existence. They use their harmonies and the various vocal talents of the other band members well, but when Halferty is the major voice, it gives the music this simple beauty that few bands can achieve. Like a peppier and less New Age Enya. The harmonies all blend well, and are a pleasure, but it is always anchored by Halferty. Even on songs where I don’t think the harmonies work as well, like the Irglova and Hansard inspired tune “Can’t Get You Off My Mind”, she carries such a breathiness that the song still works.
The instrumentals are all incredible and the added effects are powerful. But it is not just the instrumentals on their own that score so well. The mixing and production itself is an artistic triumph that gives an added artistic achievement to an already incredible album. “Slowly From The Earth” is a song that kind of perfectly encapsulates what Parlours is really capable of.
This is a very grand album. It is a sweeping epic, a sort of musical equivalent to Lawrence of Arabia (in scope, not achievement. I‘m not quite willing to claim that it is the epic all other epics should strive to be). While fans of their hit “I Dream of Chicago” may not find another song quite like that on the album, what they do manage to create is well worth your time.
Try Not To Miss Shows – 8/31 - 9/5
Parlours Album Release w/ River Monks and Dustin Smith and the Sunday Silos – Wooly’s – 8/31 8:30
A chance to pick up a copy of the album and catch the band live. Go.
Yes, this is an Obama rally. No, I will not talk about politics. I hate politics. But for two acts of this magnitude at a free show, I would be able to put up with just about anything.
The Heligoats w/ Annalibera, Dustin Harmsen and Canyons – Vaudeville Mews – 9/2 8pm
I like the Heligoats a lot. It is smart folk rock.
Continental Feat w/ Muddy Rails – Gas Lamp – 9/5 8pm