CD Review: Electric Parlor by Electric Parlor
Electric Parlor’s self-titled debut release has been a project underway since Josh Fell, Kris Far and Zachary Huling moved to Los Angeles in 2012 and joined forces with female vocalist Monique Alvarez. With almost immediate serendipitous chemistry, the foursome developed their sound and inside of a year, were making their name known throughout the competitive underground LA music scene. After years of grinding, their 10 track self-titled release is available now.
Electric Parlor comes out swinging with opening track “Reckless.” The guitar playing and drums have a sound in the initial moments that is briefly reminiscent of some early Black Sabbath. The spark on this song comes when lead singer Alvarez’s voice drops, immediately causing flashbacks to the iconic Janis Joplin. More recent comparisons vocally could be Emily Armstrong of Dead Sara or Susan Tedeschi. “Rage” continues with the garage rock vibe. A ZZ Top influence can be heard as the instrument playing is the primary driver here. “Frisco High Line” takes the tempo down slightly and it is with this track that Alvarez begins to take ownership of her voice opening things up a bit more than on the previous two tracks. The sound on “Backwoods” hints at Led Zeppelin before moving into one of my favorites, “Bitter.” Offering a completely different sound than previously heard, “Bitter” slows everything down creating another impressive blues based bit where Alvarez explores several aspects of her voice. Raspy if not necessarily screechy at points, the pain, pleading and desperation built into the lyrics comes hammering through her emotion filled delivery for a song that ultimately feels complete across the board.
The second half of Electric Parlor begins with “Freedom Ride” and at over six minutes, it starts to feel a little drawn out despite that it is probably the best track on an individual basis both musically and vocally. But where “Bitter” was a pure mesh of vocals and instrumentation, something is a bit disjointed on “Freedom Ride” even given a powerful mid-track electric guitar solo that energizes the song. Another favorite, “Young Blood,” is a beautiful ballad where Alvarez’s vocals shine as she croons “Brother only you can see/You put that weight in front of me/Only you have got that key/So open my heart/Set me free.” “Promise Land” is a mid-tempo rock with a nod to the 60s love culture with lyrics such as “Oh Sugar won’t you run with me/To that place where you know we’re all free/Run away all night and day/Come on Baby let me show you how I play.” “Hazy Daisy” begins with drum playing that let’s you know it’s going to be one of the stronger tracks and with a catchy chorus that will have you singing along, it does not disappoint. Electric Parlor closes with the appropriately titled “Last Battle.” Combining all elements of their instrument playing with Alvarez’s rare vocals, “Last Battle” is a raw, forceful, final showing that probably best encompasses who this band is in their soul.
With a banging style that manages to pull earlier influences forward into a current sound, Electric Parlor has pooled their talents and created a take notice kind of debut release. Possessing technique that could be trademarked by impressive guitar riff solos that appear mid to late point on almost every track coupled with Alvarez’s howl’esque sound, this band has the potential to break out of the box at any minute. If you’re looking for a modern, organic twist on 70s alt rock, look no further than Electric Parlor. With blues infused grooves and an authenticity that rings true to its musical inspirations, Electric Parlor is one to watch.
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