reviewed by Michael Thomas
This cursed year of 2016 cannot be allowed to pass before getting a friendly reminder that Lonely Parade absolutely rule. For a few years now, the Peterborough trio have been expressing anger and ennui all in a wonderful art-punk package—there’s generational anxiety, despair at the way the world is going. But that rage is always beneath the surface.
That tension is also present in the band’s second full-length, hidden beneath innocuous song titles like “Family Reunion” and “Chicken Wing.” Since Sheer Luxury, the band’s punk and grunge sounds have intensified, and it’s a pleasure to hear them absolutely tear up a song with a furious guitar solo. There’s not a lot of lyrics in “no AM,” but the big guitar solo adds a special kind of weight to it.
The band have more or less perfected the slacker vocal/punk combination, like with the opener, “Window.” The grungy guitar pairs nicely with lyrics like “I’m a rookie, don’t think twice/Smells good, Old Spice,” which definitely feels like a code for something. Later on in the album, in “Johnny Utah,” to be precise, it sounds like the group is trying to stretch slacker vocals to their logical conclusion. Charlotte Dempsey’s groovy bassline leads what appears to be a stream of consciousness including questioning what the song is about and a trip to a store in search of a lightbulb. It’s also another song that charmingly leave an unintended laugh in, B.A. Johnston-style.
One of the album high points is undoubtedly “Family Reunion,” which adds a punk soundtrack to the bullshit conversation your extended family members make: “Thank you uncle, I’m sure I’ll carry this advice with me everyday/I’m not lazy, I’m not directionless, I just don’t want to tell you what I want to be when I grow up.” On “Newfoundland,” the lyrics are less sarcasm than a straight shot of truth: “I don’t belong to anyone, I don’t want to be yours.”
In other parts it’s great just to lose yourself in the huge walls of sound. After the aforementioned code of “Window,” the song turns into a huge swell of guitar. “Chicken Wing” is all jamming, providing a nice break between lyrics.
Lonely Parade have only been on the scene for a few years, but they’re already mastering their form. And with each release, their music becomes more and more delicious (the balanced-breakfast album cover notwithstanding).
Top Tracks: “Window”; “Family Reunion”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*