(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Recording review - Parlovr, Kook Soul (2012)

Theatrical and expressive, Parlovr's sound has matured

Montreal rockers Parlovr (pronounced "parlour") were scattered on their 2010 EP Hell / Heaven / Big / Love (review). Synth pop, indie rock, new wave, garage -- Parlovr defied genre and clarity of vision to offer a glimpse of their own schizophrenic internals.

Kook Soul's music still reflects a cracked mirror perspective of various influences, but Parlovr has found continuity in a theme of commitment and its occasional failure. Pleasantly, they manage to cover that trite ground without self indulgence. Along with their thematic coherence, the band has taken an evolutionary step and developed a theatricality that elevates Kook Soul's pop and provides an aesthetic link to fellow Montrealers, Arcade Fire.

On Just Marriage, an ambient start escalates into a shrill wail that culminates into a solid glam rock drive. Standing on Mott the Hoople and T-Rex's shoulders, the band pounds through the song, filling the cracks of the tune with fuzzy bits of whatever comes to hand. The kick drum and heavy bass provide grounding for the falsetto vocals. The wordy lyrics fit the tension of the song, offering little comfort in their wisdom:
Like a solid scream, the thought shot through her heart in the dream
And though it woke her up, the feeling became a real thing
And now the wedding she wanted so bad had all become a lie
Oh how the nuptials, they only pull the wool over your eyes
Parlovr mixes a matter-of-fact tone with punctuations of over-emoted expressiveness, which gives Kook Soul a confessional vibe. The glossy glam and new wave riffs suggest a slick veneer, but Parlovr's deeper feelings are often revealed. On I'm Holding on to Something, the verse starts out passively:
You promised you'd be home
I made myself available
Guess I'll just wait outside your door

But the truth of rejection becomes clear which leads the song to a simple chorus of raw, exposed desperation: I'm holding on to something. I'm holding on to you!

But rather than play drama kings, the band remains self aware and avoids taking themselves too seriously. Take the retro mod-pop of Amaze-Me-Jane. This goofy tune sets up a simple garage rock jam with tossed off lyrics. But the song's energy builds and the vocals veer towards anarchy while the music tries to keep up.

Kook Soul's maturity and coherence are an improvement over Hell / Heaven / Big / Love. Parlovr continue to develop their voice and it seems like they have interesting things to say.


  1. Oh man, you've got the lyrics to Just Marriage down !

  2. It wasn't too hard, it's only the little words that are tough to pick up. I spent a fair amount of time listening to pick them up. It's a great song. So glam!