Saturday, May 24, 2008
CD Review: Parlour Steps - Ambiguoso
Parlour Steps – Ambiguoso
2007 Figment Music/Nine Mile Records
Popular music is full of enigma. Very often what rises to the top in popular music is not the cream of talent, but of difference. Unfortunately there are too many image makers in this day and age, so everyone tries to be different. Nevertheless there occasionally comes along a band that is different not because of what they try to be, but simply because they are. Vancouver, British Columbia based Parlour Steps is such a band. On Ambiguoso they deliver a subtle and nuanced rock album that will scamper its way into your brain like a cold (viral, unnoticed at first and unshakeable thereafter).
Built on jangly guitar, tight harmonies and award-winning songwriting, Ambiguoso is likely to make a lot of critics’ top lists for 2007 or even 2008. There are no clunkers here. Every song is well written and delivered in near-perfect form. Highlights include Only Mystery, World As Large, Thieves Of Memory, and Haunt The Park. I have been wracking my brain to find a close musical tie to explain Parlour Steps sound to the unitiated among my readers, but there is no clear comparison. I would hazard a guess however that The Rheostatics might be listed as an influence by one or more band members.
Ambiguoso is billed as “Thought Rock”. The lyrics are actually worth listening to. The music is well written and performed in top-notch form. Singer and chief songwriter Caleb Stull is a first-class front man, and there is a chemistry apparent in the band that shines through on CD. Parlous Steps’ Amiguoso is anything but – it is a distinctive and delightfully thought-provoking CD.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)
You can learn more about Parlour Steps at www.parloursteps.com. You can purchase copies of Ambiguoso at CD Baby.