Thursday, February 10, 2011
Parades are the quintessential "new band" to check out from 2010. Not only do they present a fresh yet coherent sound which helps them stand out from the masses of fledgling bands, they do so in a way that I cannot imagine anyone who enjoys music having a problem with theirs. Parades' debut is instantly lovable, in the very best way.
The elements that make Foreign Tapes so good are not in themselves a highlight. The subtle horns in "Hunters" don't stand out enough to define the song beyond the gorgeous melodies and gentle piano chords. Likewise, reverb-laden guitars in "Marigold" and "Past Lives" don't make one think "Oh, that's kind of post-rock-y", even though the influences from that genre are obvious. The real core of Foreign Tapes is the seamless flow of the album from song to song, from dreamy pop numbers to more ambitious indie rock songs to somber instrumentals.
That's not to say the technical details on Foreign Tapes aren't fantastic. The vocals are a defining factor, a male-female trade-off which is as angelic as it is dynamic. The production is also impeccably good, with the loud drums giving the album a decidedly upbeat feel, even on the slower tracks. The instrumentation is incredibly tactful and layered, leading one to believe that this debut album was born from no small amount of blood, sweat, and tears.
The whole of Foreign Tapes is really much greater than the sum of its parts, though. The album ebbs and flows in a masterful fashion, displaying the restraint and songwriting prowess of a band far beyond its debut album. The mood of Foreign Tapes is perfect, creating a sort of dreamscape that is sometimes melancholy, sometimes uplifting, but never overbearing in either extreme. Parades have absolutely nailed it on their first try, and have established themselves in one fell swoop as one of the giants of the indie genre. A must-listen.
Listen and buy: