Canadian ElectroPop act Parallels first came to our attention with their 2009 single Ultralight on THISISNOTANEXIT. The following year, Visionaries, the album Ultralight was taken from blew us away. Parallels combination of big Pop songwriting and a raw analog production sound, despite being very retro, sound incredibly fresh. Holly and Cam crafted an album that had the synthesizer authenticity of Minimal Synth, the catchy tunes of Pop and the live feel of Indie. It was both critically acclaimed and was one of out top records of 2010. It’s been a long couple of years while we waited for new material.
In those two years, Cam and Holly parted ways, Cam concentrating on his awesome Kontravoid project and Holly carrying on the name of Parallels. Now, a lot is being said about Cam’s departure and how it has affected the new material. The ‘internet’ seems concerned that, without Cam, Parallels are just a Pop act and the new album XII is somehow not as good as Visionaries. The ‘internet’ is wrong. XII lives up to our expectations in every way, from Love & Devotion, the album’s opener, onward you are treated to a catchy, intelligent, atmospheric ElectroPop album, with each song carrying a emotional resonance. There is definitely less melancholy on this record, then the previous, but that feels like a natural progression. Whereas Visionaries displayed a certain darkness (although not as much as some people would like to make out), XII replaces that with a nostalgic longing, a slightly bitter reminiscing, that actually makes a stronger emotional connection with the listener than Visionaries Goth-lite. Time Will Crawl is the album’s obvious standout, introducing Italo into Parallel’s repertoire and worming it’s way into your brain with a huge chorus which, along with a cover of Gowen’s Moonlight Desires and Ritual Dancer made up Parallel’s much loved recent EP. The rest of the album delivers on the EP’s promises, from Days Of Summer, a retrospective track with starlight synths and Funk bass to Fury On Earth’s reverb washed 80’s movie soundtrack drums and warping lead or the Industrial pounding of Dover, XII is a album that compels further listening. Yes, without Cam XII is a very different sounding album than Visionaries, but it is built from the same foundations. The only real difference here is production style, Holly sublime and relatable vocals work an an anchor, the thread running through Parallel’s work. Be in no doubt, this is Parallels, as good as ever, and XII is an excellent album and one with we would highly recommend.
♫ Parallels – Time Will Crawl
♫ Parallels – Days of Summer
♫ Parallels – Electrimotion
♫ Parallels – Moonlight Desires
Parallels’ ‘XII’ is released tomorrow.
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