Release Date: May 15, 12
A friend once told me she thought the designer brand Bulgari was pronounced something along the lines of Bivuhlgari because it’s often spelled with a “v” in place of the “u”. Sometimes, however, this actually works in favor. Take Montréal’s trio Parlovr, for example, and it makes perfect sense: you can pronounce it how the band claims you should, as parlour, or you can say it phonetically, as parlover. Bam! You’ve just hit upon the key to their latest album, second full-length Kook Soul. The album’s aim to shape, misshape, and morph the various forms of loneliness and relationships via song is easily gathered with just the first few tracks, staying true and apparent throughout all of Kook Soul despite a few haven’t-I-heard-this? moments snuck in between.
Let yourself go on track one. “Do You Remember?” will be your therapist, and you can remember all you want. “It’s not a secret thing/ you always knew there would be an ending” sings Alex Cooper. His voice has a sort of told-you-so kind of assurance and knowing, yet relenting as the chorus begins to break in, feeling more sympathetic with a gauzier array of guitar, drums, and keyboard helped in supply by bandmates Jeremy MacCuish and Louis-David “Louis” Jackson. It’s going to be a lovingly long, and perhaps painful-by-memory, album.
It’s easier to digest a difference in sound with the 80s space-age tinged prom song, “Now That You’re Gone.” Spacey with the light touches of synth on the keys, but rock in the reverberating static of the drums and drowning crashes. Coming in just under three minutes, the track is a piece of sampling candy to Kook Soul as a whole.
Taking the otherworldliness of the sound up one notch, “Married On A Sunday” talks you through the opening, in jilted lilts like an avant-garde pop group from MTV’s beginning era. The song unfolds something like Datarock’s “Computer Camp Love” with a mix of encouraging and condescending tones in the backup vocals, bringing the whole thing together for a strange composition, needing a few repeated listens to catch onto just how this thing started and how did it get to the end anyhow, musically speaking?
It’s easy to answer that question regarding later track “4000,” which slides like honey through the ears – thick and sticky sweet. It floats you, and can sink you. You’re listening, but you need to listen closer. It doesn’t sound like you can be close enough – like you’re 4000 leagues under the sea. Or honey.
To close, the appropriate long vocals in the background set a sorry, rainy-day mood for “It Only Happens to the Ones In Love.” Sooner than later though, you’ll find yourself picked up. Laughing at how you felt previously. Until you realize that’s just as foolish and you go back to ruminating about your heartache. For an album that, as Cooper puts is, is thematically about “pining over relationships and all the different shapes they take throughout one’s life,” Parlovr succeeds with an offbeat collection of memories through songs: some sounding new, some sounding familiar, and some sounding (maybe) just a little too close to home.