I’d had this one sitting on my review pile for literally months, but for some reason I’d never actually flipped it on. Turns out I was missing out – it’s a lovely little find.
Parades are a Sydney four piece that were apparently formed in early 2008. For the most part they make understated semi-lo-fi pop (think The Radio Dept., Notwist, perhaps The Postal Service, et al) that straddles the gap between electronic pop and and a live band dynamic, while occasionally their sound expands to a dense, atmospheric, even anthemic full band sound (somewhat Expatriate-esque, but with more Explosions in the Sky and less new wave 80s bands).
Their self-titled EP contains 5 tracks, each featuring concise and to-the-point songwriting (not always a common trait in music of this ilk), and melodies that are frequently tweaked to perfection and instantly hummable. Opener Shut Up And Be Young opens with a classic sing-along sunshine-y refrain underscored by ambience and propelled by a simple click-and-glitch drum program, while second track Invaders has a great driving synth bassline and constant momentum, punctuated by shimmery guitar arpeggios and organs. Emotion is presented in its primary colours, but don’t be alarmed: it works, mostly because it doesn’t sound contrived.
Third track Mountain Moves doesn’t exactly reach out and grab me – it plays pretty straight cards as a normal poppy indie rock band song – but it’s certainly competent. The Replicant is extremely Radiohead-esque (mostly a cross between Sit Down. Stand Up. and The Gloaming), and it’s perhaps a little melodramatic, but stands as a solid tune. The EP closer Great White North is another indie rock moment, but features a great dynamic build, nice duo-ing of guy and girl vocals and a great all-out post-rock climax – a great performance.
For an album entirely recorded, mixed and mastered entirely in one of the band member’s garages, the recording carries itself surprisingly well. The performances sounds confident, in part because they don’t attempt to achieve more than their strengths allow, which works to the band’s advantage. The sound quality may not be up to scratch compared to a studio recording, but at the same time the band sounds like they’ve been afforded the liberty of developing their sound at their leisure, which can only be a good thing. I’d love to hear the group in the hands of the right producer to smooth some of the bumps and maybe introduce a new perspective to their songs, but given the band’s capable creation of this release, there’s no reason they can’t build on their experience for the next time round.
In short, this group is on my list of bands to watch. Read this post on their Myspace for info on how to order their EP, and if you want to see them live you can catch them at World Bar with Papa vs Pretty on March 6th.
- Shut Up and Be Young (mp3)