Independent [Release date 02.10.20]
German husband and wife team, Rene and Cindy Methner are Para Lia, now on their second album.
Pop, Electronica, Indie Rock, alt.rock, alt.pop, Dark Wave, New Wave, Old Wave?
In fact, it’s all of the above. But not as we know them. On this recording they skilfully straddle the blurry line between sub genres, falling on the side of Art Rock. If for no other reason than the fact the album is a collaboration with New York visual artist Louis Renzoni. In some cases, art inspires the music, and in others, vice versa. It’s a familiar relationship in pop culture.
That “artistic interpretation” gives them the freedom to be a little more innovative and a shade edgier. Still, they know that a well crafted tune is always the key – the clanging, hooky openers ‘My Muse’ and ‘Fade To Grey’ tell you all you need to know – the right production sound can thrust your music into the here and now, but a memorable melody is timeless.
Sometimes you might feel that it’s all just a bit too tailored, too honed, too carefully contoured, then the unusual structures of songs like ‘Children Of The Flood’ and ‘Riders On The Dike’, full of little shards of light, and a weird dissonance building in the background, create an atmosphere of anticipation
But more often it’s that very composure and confidence that makes “Riders on The Dike” so compelling. Methner is a restless songwriter and seems always to be searching for that defining moment, and that searching is what gives this album its momentum.
He gets close on ‘Kassandra’, a track underpinned by busy, beefy guitars which occasionally launch into tangled, serpentine runs. Sung by Cindy Methner, who sounds like like Joni Mitchell gone Gothic. No bad thing. And ‘No Time For Butterflies’, an explosive protest song with suitably lacerating axe work, and sharp lyrics that draw blood. As the closing track, it’s a fitting finish to the album.
Renzoni’s latest exhibition, originally scheduled to open in NY in October, then onto Berlin and London, soundtracked by Para Lia’s music, is now subject to a bespoke online setup ***1/2
Review by Brian McGowan
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Power Plays w/c 5 April 2021 (Mon-Fri)
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