Review Summary: Helen of troy has met her match.4 of 4 thought this review was well written
The main dilemma with a multitude of bands in existence that show a glimmering chance at something more promising but constantly fall short is a frustrating ailment. It’s not always the case that each single member lacks the full potential to achieve how they envision their work but simply a fault of placing eggs into the wrong basket. A heightened sense of ambition can usually overpower what the collective is actually capable of creating if every person isn’t pulling their own weight and bringing the same level of talent to the table. I’ve personally felt this was the huge detriment to post-hardcore act Alesana and kept their grandiose concepts from ever becoming an easy pill to swallow for listeners. It’s never been an issue of competency on all fronts because within the shortcomings held many well-rounded ideas unfortunately pinned down by weaker links that squandered the execution.
I’ve sat back for several years with a displaced outlook on what they’ve delivered and in the back of my mind hoped for an off shoot in the form of a much needed side project. Thankfully, I was right in my assumption that it was only a matter of time until the brightest brains longed to break free from the constraints of an endeavor merely not cutting it. The birth of Tempting Paris came from a liberating desire to place emphasis on an eased back approach that made sure lighthearted fun could have breathing room to work. It’s truly in the sincere jubilance expressed on Polaroids In July
that you ultimately feel an overwhelming sense of contentment in what was desperately trying to get out in the open. I couldn’t find a solitary track that didn’t come across like all the ducks were finally in a row and had a blast every step of the way with a group unshackled and loving every minute of it.
It would appear musician Shawn Milke has come to realize sometimes less is more and his commanding presence isn’t abundantly required to drive the point home. In much of the record he takes a backseat to his sibling Melissa and lets her have the spotlight she exudes with such a bubbly personality it’s difficult not to smile. It’s not to say he doesn’t have his moments to shine but gone are the overbearing wailings we’ve been accustomed to and in their place are soothingly focused melodies that hit the bull’s-eye. It’s not the pair’s first rodeo together by a long shot but if you already thought their voices beautifully complimented each other then you ain’t heard the half of it. The duets between them are so infectiously connected throughout the experience that it could honestly only come from a special bond shared by blood. The lyrics alone for once have an emotional impact because they’re wholly written from a deeply intimate place instead of masked by takes on other author’s material.
In the deliberation of music is a very percussion oriented affair that bounces frequently in key with the rest of instrumental occupancies. Along for the ride from the aforementioned outfit is Patrick Thompson who single handedly performs the guitar duties for the first time in his professional career. It wouldn’t be hard to talk up how wonderfully his contributions add to the overall sound but the fact he can hold his own in such unfamiliar territory does it enough justice. The only person fans of the three collaborators carried over probably know nothing about is bassist Joey Mitchell and if you opt to check his former employment you’ll quickly see why he was recruited to play a part in this role. What you’re left with from the dream team Milke concocted to fill a gaping void is a fruitful effort that finds its footing by gallantly strolling with a pleasing escape that’s undoubtedly likewise for the crowd.
So if you may have any preconceptions I gladly invite you to watch them swayed by a whimsy treat from a small portion of individuals who have decided to embrace growing up with an enthusiastic glow.