Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Digital Music Review: Parlor Walls "Opposites" (Northern Spy Records)


If I began writing this review by saying something like "Parlor Walls is a duo from Brooklyn that plays experimental, out-of-the-box type of music" you'd probably think that the same statement could be applied to any number of artists and, well, that perhaps you weren't reading a review on this site either.    The fact of the matter is, for all of the times I've heard that statement I've never felt it to be more true-- as if everyone else has said it up until now as just a formality but this time it's really real.

Horns blow through at rapid speed and seemingly at random intervals while bass synth can be stretched out and the vocals just somehow fall into line with the music while at the same time manage to do their own thing.    The delivery of both the vocals and music together can come across like daggers-- the way I'd read it would be similar to putting a period after every word.    If you're not completely in love with "Opposites" after the first song I don't know what to tell you, but as you listen to all the songs you will only fall more deeply in love.

To describe the music of Parlor Walls is difficult because they combine various sounds but don't sound like any existing artist, which is why I enjoy them so much.   A bit of that experimental side of someone such as Yoko Ono mixed with that punk energy of a name such as Xiu Xiu and yet, still, not quite the full spectrum of what is happening here.   In a "jazz" sense there is this bit of Sweep the Leg Johnny thrown in for good measure.  (And, on a side note, has there ever been an artist like Sweep the Leg Johnny since them?)

The name Parlor Walls seemed familiar to me before I listened to this ablum but I wasn't sure why-- I hadn't reviewed their music before.   This is, however, their first full length and there are two equally excellent EPs available on their Bandcamp (One at Free Download, one at Name Your Price), so I definitely would recommend diving into those as well, after listening to "Opposites".    Basically any song Parlor Walls wants to release at this point I'm going to be listening to and if they don't make it to CT soon enough I'll be heading into NYC to see them as well.     This whole experience is just that encapsulating.


[$9.99 Download // $18.99 on Vinyl // https://parlorwalls.bandcamp.com/album/opposites

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