The debut album from Cork band Parallel featured some of the best indie-pop tunes this side of the Go-Betweens and Teenage Fanclub. Their new EP sees a distinct change in direction and a new experimental era being ushered in by Lar English on guitar and Christine Brine on vocals. The new songs have more of a tendency towards smoky jazz, subtle electronica and samples.
Despite this, the core of what Parallel are about remains and there is no dip in quality.
Christine Brine’s vox remain as powerful as ever, while Lar English’s guitar playing moves within the songs, rather than around them as had previously been the case. The result is a record that stands alone from their previous work but brings Parallel forward significantly – something not many bands are willing to risk on just their second release.
What They Want has got a really cool ’50s vibe to it. It strips back the emphasis on guitar in favour of highlighting the vocals of Brine while Ashes is a simplistic yet interesting acoustic number that reveals more with each listen.
Running in Circles is reminiscent of their previous hook-laden work – a rollicking pop tune that exemplifies how to make a catchy song without repetitiveness – if only popular culture song-writers could take note of songs like this. Waiting is laid-back, jazzy and flits between guitar pop and blues club vibes.
What They Want (reprise) is totally different to the title-track, and possibly the most outlandish thing they attempt on this record with the acoustic guitars embellished by samples and general electronic tinkering.
This record is a very brave attempt at moving forward. Any band worth their weight should be looking to achieve progress like this. While Parallel are not exactly unrecognisable from their previous incarnation, they’ve reinvented their own wheel and are doing just fine with it.