Parades
Foreign Tapes


5.0
classic

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
August 11th, 2010 | 75 replies | 5,638 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I still see the universe in you.

9 of 9 thought this review was well written

Forget the idea of lightning never striking twice in the same place: in the case of Jonathan Boulet, there's some kind of freak electrical storm going on. Less than six months after the release of his debut solo album - a warmly euphoric exploration of summery, lo-fi percussive pop - Boulet has returned to the drum seat of his main band, Parades, to take part in the creation of yet another truly sensational debut. Foreign Tapes is the kind of album that leaves its listeners at either end of extremities; either completely speechless or tripping over themselves in order to decided which hyperbole is most immediately applicable. Stunning in its execution, this is the type of LP that is increasingly rare to find amongst the current musical climate in the fact that you won't find anything else quite like it. Not in the band's native Sydney, not in Australia...not anywhere. Parades have delivered an opus that is entirely unique to them and them alone; making for an involving, exhilarating listen - a revelation of the greatness going on in Australian music beyond the charts and entertainment centres.

The Parades sound incorporates slathers of early post-punk, vintage indie rock, 2000s post-rock and the exciting, versatile sound of the current Sydney underground. If that sounds expansive only in theory, wait until the actual music of Foreign Tapes graces your ears. Thick, simmering strokes of reverb-soaked guitar and keyboard ambience become the backdrop to an array of dynamic drum patterns (both acoustic and electric) and a small army of voices that range from their shivering lonesome to the kind of choral mountain-peaks normally only attained by groups like Arcade Fire or the Polyphonic Spree. The vast nature of transitioning from the former to the latter is especially prominent in tracks like the gorgeous "Hunters", which begins serenely with sampled piano, guest vocalist/contributor Bec Shave's soft vocal wispiness and the rhythmic click of snare drum rim hits echoing in the background. Midway, the song boils over into Dan Cunningham's spiky lead guitar, all-in vocals and firepower drumming at the very edge of the soundscape. It's an exemplary representation of the dynamics that define Parades - the atmosphere and the adrenalin, working either separately or as a momentum-shifting hybrid.

Foreign Tapes isn't just a spectacle of progression, either - there is most certainly fun to be had. Opener "Dead Nationale" quietly builds up before the explosive drum pattern snaps you to attention and sweeps you away in a flurry of big hooks, soaring vocals and a guitar break that sounds like an unstoppable force hitting an immovable object. In a parallel universe, this could even be a #1 pop hit. "Past Lives", somewhat contrastingly, works through breezy harmonies and shimmering guitar to create a warm, encapsulating serenity. The fact the two songs can create just different environments with all but one song separating them is one thing, but the fact they rival one another in regards to their degree of catchiness also makes quite a bold statement about the band's creativity and muscular songwriting. It doesn't stop there - "Loserspeak In New Tongue", one of the album's standout tracks, circulates around guitarist Tim Jenkins' sole vocal melody in warped syncopation that threatens to stay put in your subconscience for days (perhaps even weeks) on end. Technically, Foreign Tapes might be unclassifiable in the realm of pop music, but that certainly doesn't mean lessons have not been learned from the very realm itself.

For all its soaring highs and masterfully-calculated crescendos, one track stands head and shoulders above all as the standout moment of Foreign Tapes. The six-minute masterstroke of "Marigold" amazingly manages to sum up exactly what makes Parades a great band. From the reverberating snare drum that signals the opening to the breathless, tom-heavy drum fill that signals its conclusion, not a second is wasted in the composition. Shave's tender vocals reach their peak, the guitars churn their way into overdrive, a horn section scales the song's power to what feels like an insurmountable high...truly, this level of greatness is not to be ignored.

With bands like Powderfinger and Jet moving out of the spotlight, much has been made of which bands will take over as the forefront venue-fillers in the national music community. With this in mind, it's albums like this that will make you question if such a position really matters in terms of who fills it. What if the greatest music in the country was being made right under your very nose, without the support of mainstream media or even mainstream venues? For now, it very much is. Whether this will continue is anyone's guess, but for now, Parades are what's truly important. Foreign Tapes is a dream which you never want to wake up from, an alternate world to escape to and a triumph of Australian music.



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user ratings (274)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Sam Feldman's Rating (4.5)
...

BohemianAle (5)
The Sydney quartet has gone through many incarnations, changing names and styles left and right, wit...

David Driver (3.5)
A solid debut from a band that still needs a little bit more time to grow....

Davey Boy STAFF (4.5)
If you're going to listen to one new band this year, make it Parades. Foreign Tapes is an album of 2...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
AtavanHalen
August 11th 2010



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Band is gay, review is gay, neg to oblivion

Enotron
August 11th 2010



7695 Comments


looks sexy good sir, will read when lucid

Knott-
Emeritus
August 11th 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is one of the few albums I own which I wish I could play through a better sound system because I know that what I'm hearing isn't doing it justice.

Record is fucking sublime/beautiful/gorgeous/awesome.

There's 2 'latter's halfway through para2.

Review kicks ass, have a pos.

EVedder27
August 11th 2010



6088 Comments


Really nice review, feel like I should like this a bit more than I do

Romulus
August 11th 2010



8411 Comments


^ 123

Fugue
August 11th 2010



7352 Comments


456.

SpottedTrout
August 11th 2010



545 Comments


and 7 ate 9



AtavanHalen
August 11th 2010



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Sorry you feel that way guys. This is, like, one of the most important things in my life right now, and it's really weird to describe.

Romulus
August 11th 2010



8411 Comments


I'm kind of jealous of these people who have classic albums in 2010. I only have like two 4.5s and they're borderline 4s at that. It's been strangely disappointing so far for me which is weird cause everyone else is calling it a groundbreaking year or whatnot.

EVedder27
August 11th 2010



6088 Comments


I have 4 or 5 albums from this year that are way above the rest, but a lot in the high 3.5 and low 4 range.

Romulus
August 11th 2010



8411 Comments


Yeah I'm with you there. I've had more 3.5s this year than like ever-- it's been really solid but not as much spectacular as I'd like. Last year was more the opposite.

East Hastings
August 11th 2010



4391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i lahv dis alboom

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2010



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Will I like this? Oh, hang on a tick...

Knott-
Emeritus
August 11th 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Probably not, Davey. It sounds nothing like Emery.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2010



30873 Comments


Album is all kinds of warranted hyperbole

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

East Hastings
August 11th 2010



4391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^ definitely, but still pretty damn good

Knott-
Emeritus
August 11th 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

he said warranted

AtavanHalen
August 11th 2010



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Will I like this?


Fuck no.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2010



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review DavID.

Could have just written "What Davey said" though.

AtavanHalen
August 11th 2010



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Or you could stop stroking your own ego



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