I have been on the hunt for music that fits my current aesthetic, and this album is so perfect in that regard that I feel little need to listen to anything else.
The Parlour Trick seems to be pretty obscure; you get bupkis if you put them into Pandora. I only discovered them because a couple of months ago, Neil Gaiman tweeted about this place in Brooklyn, Gemini & Scorpio Loft arts space, which was having a Kickstarter campaign. I was like, I like things that Neil likes, so I looked at the thing, and found that their list of rewards was the most fantastic treasure trove of awesome things I’d never heard of: artists, musicians, clothing designers, creatives of all stripes. And I rejoiced, for I needed more things to obsess about. This is where I discovered Morbid Anatomy, who sponsored the splendid taxidermy class I took a while back. And one of the musicians listed was The Parlour Trick, so I started listening to their album on Bandcamp, and purchased it halfway through the second track, because this was clearly a thing I needed in my life.
I don’t know anything about music, really. I mean, I have many feelings, but I don’t know the vocabulary a music reviewer would use. I have no idea, for example, what genre “A Blessed Unrest” falls into. So all I can do is compare them to some other things, describe some instrumentation, and tell you about my feelings. Apologies if that’s not totally as informative as you’d like.
They remind me sometimes of Broadcast, which is one of my favorites. And sometimes of Porcupine Tree, and the little bit of Black Heart Processional I’m familiar with. They also remind me of the in-theater musical performances that would accompany silent films, all pianos and cellos and violins, with a heavy dose of theramin, because that’s something we all need more of.
The adjectives and adverbs I wrote down while listening to the album include: mournful, soaring, funereal, echoing, atonal, breathless, faraway, weird, ambient, submerged, wailing, quavering, broken. About the track “Sheol,” I wrote down, “Abandons all attempt at melody and rumbles out a cello-driven atmospheric buzz of decay, with a theramin warble of isolation.”
My only other note would be: when you listen to this album, which you really need to do, stick around for the conclusion. It’s worth braving the silence for.