May 16, 2003

Parlour "Googler"

Seems as if releasing 'sister' albums is the latest indie-rock practice. Bands are recording enough material for two records and then picking and choosing between the material. Sometimes it's awesome (like Appleseed Cast's Low Level Owl and the Kristin Hersh solo album and Throwing Muses reunion) and sometimes it's merely okay (hi, Radiohead); sometimes it's interesting (like Cex's simultaneous Being Ridden vocal and instrumental mixes and Poor Rich One's William Hut releasing his solo debut on the same day as a rarities disk by his band Poor Rich Ones) but other times, you're left scratching your head (hello, Joan of Arc!) about the results. Louisville's Parlour--who spent several years recording material before releasing their offical debut album Octopus Off-Broadway--are the latest band to succumb to this new concept. Their debut album was a pleasingly mild, calm, chilled-out record.

But what of Googler? It's a bit rough around the edges; unlike the oceanlike waves of sonic beauty of Octopus Off Broadway, Googler is a much harder record. Industrial sounds are much more abundant here than before, and at times these songs--such as "Over the Under" and "Distractor"--seem to be more like instrumental rehearsals and jam sessions as opposed to cohesive songs. Don't count them out for moments of dreamy bliss; "Hop Pife" and "Svrendikditement" are groovy, mellowed-out rock that's very reminiscent of Mice Parade, though with a little more edge. In fact, these last two numbers--ironically the oldest songs on Googler--really make this a worthy release.

At six songs, Googler seems a bit too brief. While these songs are excellent, I'd love to hear what Parlour could do if they really let loose in the studio. They come very close on "Svrendikditement," but overall the band seems restrained and not particularly sure of themselves. The Furnish brothers have some great ideas floating around, and the backing band are all capable, but something just seems so...unsteady. Perhaps this is an inherent flaw of bands who spend more time in the studio than they do onstage--the chops are good and are tight, but they might be better after spending a few weeks onstage.

It will be interesting to hear Parlour's next work; if they've spent several years in and out of studios to come up with two great albums, what will be the results of their next album? Will it be another five-six years before the next Parlour album? Or will Tim Furnish and company pull it together and release another opus next year? They've got the talent to make a great album, even if it seems as if they don't have the time.

--Joseph Kyle

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