arlour issued its first release only a few months ago on the Temporary Residence label. This release, Googler comes off as a bit more mature, but ultimately less satisfying melodically. Whereas Octopus Off Broadway mined the same territory, instrument wise, for most of the length of the record- bass, guitar, synthesizer, drums- Googler expands the pallet a good bit, to reveal the fact that the group has grown. The problem is, however, that the group has not brought the elegant, time tested melodies of the first release to the fore of the record, as in their previous work.
Octopus Off Broadway would rightly be criticized for each track sounding too similar to one another, in terms of instrumentation. The general lack of experimentation was all the more distressing as the layout of each song depended on a great deal of repetition to get its point across. Parlour works the post rock vein that the Mercury Program is working under- endlessly repeating a simple melodic line until its natural conclusion (or boredom sets in). While the melodies were beautiful and the concept worked well, because the songs could be listened to all day long; the instruments never changed.
Oddly, the exact opposite is true here. On Googler the melodies that are turned in here are not as open and as inviting as the previous record’s tracks. Instead of this, the group expands the sounds that the guitars and synthesizers make along the way.
This second error is perhaps the bigger one, however, as no matter what the instrumentation is- if the songs aren’t present then the album should be a failure. Parlour does bring much of the same songwriting chops to the table on this release and the group is not the better for it. Instead of a progression to different song structures the group mines the same territory that gave them success on their last album.
There are, however, some noticeable high and low points on the album. “Reguulkfro Reel” contains an almost cartoonish feel to the instruments of the song and seems to try rather earnestly to rock a bit. Unfortunately this attempt to rock is not successful- and it seems like the group knows it-, as the second ambient portion of the song far outstrips the first half. “Hop Pife” sounds as though the group has been listening to a good bit of Cluster and allows the ambience of the previous track to continue beautifully for a few more minutes before barreling into the closing track, “Svrendikditement”, which combines an abrasive Cylob-esque breakbeat and a oscillating melodic synthesized sound.
All in all, Parlour’s second album is a disappointment. It’s obvious that the group is coming from a diverse group of influences to coalesce into one set of songs. The care with which Octopus Off Broadway was constructed was both obvious and well received. It seems, however, that if a little more time and effort was put into the songwriting on this album, the group would both have a larger progression to show for their work, as well as a more dynamic sounding album. Well, there’s always next time. And don’t worry. I’ll be listening.