Perren Street Parade sound like a well-oiled machine. Not bad for a band that first saw the light in the 80’s, made a 6 track demo, garnered interest from a record company and then parted company for almost 3 decades. Only for former members Colin Read & Peter West to reconnect via the social media and record their debut album, “Selling The Family Silver” – released in 2014. The duo now follows that up with their brand new album “The Looking Glass”.
They weave intricate acoustic guitar lines, hypnotic vocals – which include those of Efrat Darky, and elegant dream-pop rhythms into gorgeous, sprawling songs that skirt the line between psychedelia and intimacy. Perren Street Parade sounds like they’re channeling something truly otherworldly and mystical…yet grounded in the here and now.
“The Looking Glass is a long way from the directionless mess that some dream pop albums result in being. Give it a few plays and it will get under your skin, swim into your bloodstream and build tunnels through your bones. The very first distinguishing thing you’ll notice about this music is that it often features the soul bearing sound of horns – which already puts them in a world of their own.
The album opens with the magnificent and epic, “Empty” which is beautiful and dreamy, all blissful strings, rich harmonies and effervescent vocals. Equally good is the intoxicating pop song, “Let It All Out Then Let It Go”, with alluring and jangly strummed guitars, a strong melody and a big chorus.
Some of these songs really are beyond words, impossible to describe in mere words, just a mood that only a song could create. For another melodic standout, seek out “Picking Up The Pieces”: a thriving verse with a simple yet effective tune and rhythmic guitar and bass lines, which steadily move towards the horn interlude, creating a magnificent, larger than life sound.
These are all perfect pop songs: not like horrible pop, but wonderfully airy and beautiful: uplifting one moment and swimming with sweet melancholy the next, sometimes both at once. The horns and strings provide fantastic accompaniment to the distinctive, high-pitched, enticingly delicate voices.
Another significant track is “Like Getting Blood From A Stone”, with its strong acoustic guitar rhythm, choral singing, harmonica and the lead vocals in the forefront, surging and pushing into alt-folk cross-pollination. This is one of my favorite tracks on the entire album.
“Shiver” which is slightly unnerving, morphs round and round and is possibly the most ambitious song on the album, featuring huge synth and strings accompaniments, yet also guitars, horns and a walking bass. This is fantastic stuff. “Silent Suffering” is another one of those tracks that jumps out at you, with its clever melody, chorus line and male-female vocals.
One thing Perren Street Parade is brilliant at is creating moods. Even in the instrumental parts which lack the storytelling lyrics and melodic voices, moods are conveyed, and feelings and styles penetrate right into the listener’s brain.
Colin Read & Peter West can paint multi-layered soundscapes with their music, all in an under-whelming way – a true gift, and here is an album full of fantastic, beautiful tracks, where feelings and atmospheres shine through, track after track.