Parade Of Lights | Feeling Electric | Rating: 8.1/11 |
Here in the year of 2015 it’s damned impossible to escape electro and synth-pop; musical sounds that seem to have an extended life all their own, never experiencing a resurgence because they never went away in the first place. It’s an overpopulated and downright noisy field and one just hopes to find something that rises above trite.
As Parade of Lights, vocalist/guitarist Ryan Daly, drummer Anthony Improgo, bassist Randy Schulte, and keyboardist Michelle Ashley have never had a problem crafting charming and solidly infectious sonic energy. Their 2014 Golden EP was, for lack of more clever wording, pure gold targeted right at the hearts and minds of the same folks on the rail at a Walk The Moon or Smallpools show. Four songs of 80’s affected, buoyant energy and M83-esque alt pop with a helping of anthem. Of course, all four songs made their way onto Feeling Electric, as two of them (“Golden” and “Burn”) found some healthy placements (The Voice and the Winter Olympics to name just two) helping to bolster the band’s profile. Throwing hands up in the air is the call of “Golden” while “Burn” is something of a pyromaniac’s theme song. All well and good because radiance and incandescence are key ingredients in Feeling Electric with the title track, itself, all pure feel-good, drowning in steady, shimmery synth lines and hooks on par with “Golden” even if – upon its intro – it does bear a striking resemblance to M83’s “Midnight City.” When a soprano’s wail flies overhead – a gospel choir accenting the outro – it’s a realized and genuinely mature moment.
Every song on the album is possessed by a certain, similar spirit of controlled bombast and unashamed optimism (yes, including the two lovelorn songs, “Can’t Have You” and “Memory”) with the layers of sound sounding pristine and flawless. Daly and Improgo seem to operate from a place of lyrical youth (not to be confused with immaturity), steadfast hope and anticipation of better things to come. And while it’s slightly more tempered than “Silver And Gold” or “Wake Up,” there’s no better example of that unwavering hope and anticipation than “Undefeatable” which marks some dark territory but keeps it traced with a bright lining. While the emotional scale tips towards the buoyant, Daly and Improgo (serving as producers) wisely keep the tempos measured, moderate and warm. Leaning towards a more hyped and hyper production might begin to float towards fluff and grate on the nerves. For some reason Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” comes to mind and, oh God, who needs that?
Stylistic challenges here are minimal but, honestly, none are necessary: this is Parade of Lights’ wheelhouse and there’s nothing wrong with driving in your respective lane as long as you do it well. Feeling Electric easily holds its own as a solid debut and connects song to song on the strength of its deftly potent and arena-ready exuberance. Plus, as releases go, it’s perfectly timed because Feeling Electric has no business being released at any time other than just in time for Summer.