|The Parlor Mob - 'Dogs' (Roadrunner)|
|Written by Russ P|
|Tuesday, 08 November 2011 04:55|
Back in 2009 The Parlor Mob's debut album 'And You Were A Crow' was a surprise to me - a brilliant album by a band that I'd never heard of. It made me wonder who else was aware of this band in the UK.
And now in 2011 nothing much has changed for me. The second album from The Parlor Mob has turned up and it's a surprise again. Another brilliant record and I still know very little about the band. Part of me doesn't care. When a band is this good what else is there to say? Just put the album on and press repeat - job done.
'And You Were A Crow' struck me as a classic rock album. Straight, powerful, unfussy riffs straight out of the annals of early 80s New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. As refreshing as the equally brilliant Rival Sons. It was a quite a surprise when I discovered that The Parlor Mob were in fact from New Jersey.
'Dogs' is a surprising follow-up for a different reason. The band has taken a bold step forward incorporating a raft of different influences. They are undoubtedly the same band that recorded 'And You Were A Crow'. This is no change of direction. But they've managed to make their songs even more melodic. There are more hooks than in Leatherface's play room.
Opener 'How It's Going To Be' starts off in manic fashion with double-time drums and a rapid-repeat riff and opens up into an oasis of melody - something quite out of the ordinary and certainly unexpected. And the band continually makes use of this shift from stonking metal into something unfeasibly pretty.
'Practice In Patience' comes quite close to pure pop and reminds me of Mr. Big. But wait there a goddamn minute. Not THAT Mr. Big. Oh no. I mean OUR Mr. Big. From the UK. Vocalist Mark Melicia has that naturally high vocal that Dicken has too.
'American Dream' manages to combine straight up hard rock with the kind of chorus that Head Automatica might come up with - the same is true for 'Into The Sun'. 'I Want To See You' is a pop ballad with an unobtrusive proggy rhythm, which has a Mars Volta (at their quietest) feel about the chorus. Melicia's vocals on this one are at their most soulful and most soaring.
Their poppiest moment is still to come though and appears in the form of 'Hard Enough' - a song that may divide some people - have they strayed too far in the hunt for a good melody? In my opinion - no - I'm still with them.
Immediately following this, as if to make amends, they rock hard with 'Cross Our Hearts' - another song that sounds like a cross between Head Automatica and At The Drive-In. And if you thought that Mark Melicia was already singing at the top of his range just listen to this one. He's up there, literally, with Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Geddy Lee.
'Take What's Mine' is more what you'd expect from The Parlor Mob going by their last record. A monster 70s riff combo of Sabbath plus Hendrix. Also more in line with their last album is 'Fall Back' - all out rock with monster riffs all wrapped up in a White Stripes-like vibe.
Did I say earlier that their poppiest moment had already come? Scratch that. 'Holding On' may be the one. With so many to choose from it's hard to say. And we end at 'The Beginning' a song that sounds intriguingly like Black Sabbath playing 'Delilah' with a little Iron Maiden thrown in for good measure.
The Parlor Mob, in their own words: "...have clawed and fought to get to where we are at, and we still have a very long way to go before we're even moderately satisfied". That's comforting to hear. Let's hope that along their journey we get to hear a few more albums like the ones that we already have.