The Parlor Mob

And You Were A Crow

Written by: TL on 05/04/2009 21:29:36

So here's another one of those reviews that have been quite a while in the making. However, while The Parlor Mob's debut album "And You Were A Crow" is almost a year old by now, I didn't actually know about it till I saw the Rock Sound review of its delayed release in Britain. Of course, when finding out about a record is delayed for so long we could as well choose to ignore it, so given that I'm writing a review of it anyway you can probably guess that it must be pretty good.

The Parlor Mob are yet another great band from New Jersey. This is not some emo or hardcore flavor of the week however, oh no, The Parlor Mob are all about rock, classic rock to be specific. If that wording makes your mind wander towards the likes of The Answer or Airbourne you may also stop it there, because this is also not another balls out boogie-rock band benefiting from the same strengths and suffering from the same shortcomings as AC/DC and Kiss. Oh no, much like Wolfmother, The Parlor Mob have obviously grown up worshiping the founding fathers of this style themselves, the mighty Led Zeppelin, and as such, they're putting so much more class in their classic rock than is the case with most mindless macho revivalist bands.

The album starts out just like Wolfmother would have done it with tracks one, two and four being up-beat explosions of guitar-driven energy with rolling riffage and manic rock'n'roll vocal delivery. It doesn't really matter if you're listening to "Hard Times", "Dead Wrong" or "The Kids", because they can all kick your ass six ways till Sunday. The latter two are so similar to Wolfmother's work that it almost feels like you've heard the stuff before, but the difference is that The Parlor Mob are slightly more controlled in the use of speed, and as such their songs make Wolfmother's seem a bit rushed and lacking in confidence. That's a bold claim of course, but whether or not you agree with me is a moot issue, because really these songs aren't even where this band shines the most.

Where they do shine is in the mellower outings, like for instance the excellent third track "Everything You're Breathing For", the guitars of which obviously pay some fuckin' awesome tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Even stronger is the moody fifth song "I Was An Orphan" (from the lyrics of which the album title originates) as the band here show exactly what they've learnt from listening to Zeppelin, displaying the same captivating progression from psychedelic folk into anthemic rock grandeur. It is also when your mind wanders during the verses of this song, that you'll probably start noticing how similar singer Mark Melicia sounds to one Cedric Bixler-Zavala (ex-At The Drive-In, The Mars Volta), which might help you understand why you've been thinking that his high pitched croon sounds so great.

In any case, the album trails on with another quiet track, "Angry Young Girl" which relies on the warm plucking of acoustic western guitar and lingering keyboard notes that has me thinking of The Doors. After this song though, the breathing space has officially ended and the party is kicked back into gear by the arousing "Carnival Of Crows", complete with wailing Hendrix-esque mini soloing, and as for the remainder of the record, the last five songs include samples of both the energetic and the mellow side of the band, "Real Hard Headed" being especially impressive on account of the power of Melicia's chorus delivery. And I can't neglect mentioning the eight minute epic "Tide Of Tears" in which the band really refine their classic influences into an exhibition in pure uncompromising and soulful rock'n'roll.

I see I've gotten to talking specifically about all but three of the album's tracks, so I better let off here, while there's still something left for you guys to discover on your own. I merely hope I have managed to tickle your fancy for this truly awesome album. I know it's been out for a while stateside, but it should still be a newcomer in your local European record store, and if you haven't been paying attention, let me just ask you again; Wouldn't you like to own an album by a band that references Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd and has a singer that sounds like Cedric Bixler-Zavala? If you can answer no to that, I don't know how to communicate with you.

Download: I Was An Orphan, Everything You're Breathing For, The Kids, Hard Times
For The Fans Of: Wolfmother, Led Zeppelin, The Mars Volta, Lynyrd Skynyrd,

Release Date: 06.05.2008
Roadrunner Records

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