Saturday, May 19, 2012

Parlovr - Kook Soul (2012)

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Since my discovery of them at We Listen For You's spectacular CMJ showcase to the release of their first new single, Parlovr have been very well within my sights. While their single "You Only Want It 'Cause You're Lonely" was certainly catchy enough to merit my paying attention, it was "Holding On To Something" which the band released as a sort of SXSW teaser that really won me over and had me practically salivating for their new album.

Kook Soul, the Montreal trio's sophomore record and their first under label contract with Dine Alone Records, is certainly not a departure from their rough-and-tumble ragged-edge rock pop but it's more than just the same old song and dance. A series of love songs, the real twist is that they're all filled with a sort of steely but not grim-faced violence that arises from keen self-awareness. No posturing or victim-playing here - the Quebec rabble-rousers offer up an astonishingly indelible set of songs that properly balances truth with pop. Opener "Do You Remember?" and "Just Marriage" have all the balls-to-the-wall energy of their self-titled debut but it's when the glorious strains of "Holding On To Something" where you truly become aware of the band's growth. Tight-knit pieces that feed off each other ravenously, "Holding On To Something" is about a perfect a pop song as the group's ever made: capturing their penchant for anthemic shout-vocals with intensely memorable melodies. "Now That You're Gone" continues with their delightful streak of dancey ear-catching pop tunes with just the barest hint of a retro-rock vibe giving the subtlest hint at a by-gone-era to keep things interesting.

"Married On A Sunday" is where the album trades in its momentum for a bit of a different track - starting with a bit of sing-talk before the track picks up and all the parts come properly together. It's a track you may not like on first or even second listen but which is poised to win you over on album listen after album listen. "You Only Want It 'Cause You're Lonely" also functions as a bit of a cool-down, slowly building up before it's big rock moments (which really aren't that big in comparison to the album's others).

"Bad Faith" functions as the album's sole ballad and to call it that is a bit of a misnomer perhaps - it's a slower more emotion-fueled song yes but it retains that trio's enthusiastic touch that keeps it from slowing things down too much.

Considering the amount of intense busy moments on Kook Soul, you have to regard the thing as a success. Is it perfect? No. But that's not really Parlovr's style anyway. Kook Soul is bold, brash, virtually unapologetic set of colorful pop songs. Some songs are better than others but none are completely unnecessary.  A charming album that gains whole new meaning when you realize it's essentially the thing that kept the band from breaking up. And considering it's dual composition - songwriters Alex Cooper and Louis Jackson essentially wrote their own songs by themselves and they remain relatively untouched by anyone but drummer Jeremy MacCuish- it's a wonder that the thing works as fluidly as it does. At no point can you tell "This is Alex's, now this is Louis'". Each of the songs all fit together in Parlovr's messy way. A solid follow up  all things considered. Here's hoping there will be more to come from the rather young Montreal threesome.

Get a taste of the album with arguable the best song on it, "Holding On To Something":

You can listen to Parlovr's Kook Soul on Spotify.

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