This Parlour Tricks article was written by Cristina Esteban, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Fraisia Dunn
This New York sextet have classified their style as indie pop/alt rock, but their first studio album sure sounds more like electric pop. According to lead singer Lily Cato: “The idea of pop music has changed. It’s still changing. Now it seems like a hundred different genres at once. It gives us a lot of room to explore”.
And explore they have, the result of it being their new album. A 10 piece collection which focuses mostly on romance and lack-of in its lyrics. This is definitely a more personal album, although sometimes Parlour Tricks seem to skim over subjects and going straight for repetitive lyrics in order to achieve the ‘correct’ chorus.
At times it sounds strange to listen to certain lyrics accompanied by an upbeat tune, rather than the more typical slow, depressing one. But it proves the wounds have healed and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
In fact, there are only two more melancholic tracks in the album, one of them being the title track. This gentle tune, includes lyrics such as “Broken promise, broken mind, Spent that summer getting high, What’s the difference this time, Cross my heart and hope to die”.
The only trouble is, that’s about it. These same lyrics make up the more complex part of the song and leave us hanging, wanting to know a bit more. They are repeated with slight changes between each verse, but are still a bit short of diverse.
Most of the other songs in the album use an array of synths and are definitely more pop, although some of them definitely dip their toes into the rock genre pool.
‘Gone’ barely uses synths and relies mostly on guitar an heavy drums, as does ‘Requiem’, the closing track, although this includes a touch of piano and much more guitar. Perhaps it could be the influence of Nine Inch Nails which has led them to include these more rock-style tracks, an influence directly mentioned by the band (although the list is quite varied so it probably cannot be attributed solely to them).
As for the remaining songs, they give this entire album its electro-pop vibe and make it more upbeat than the title has led us to believe. ‘Lovesongs’, ‘The Storm’ and ‘Easy’ definitely stand out. Although the band has managed to create a good album overall, it seems they have focussed more on getting the sound right, rather than on the content. In general, the songs are quite predictable, in that their set up is quite simple and the lyrics not very diverse, but that also makes them easy to remember, which is definitely a good thing.
‘Broken Hearts/Bones’ is out now via Bar/None Records