Review Summary: The Parlor Mob shows considerable growth in their 3rd release, and moves out of their Blues Rock pigeonhole.
The Parlor Mob is just one of those bands that get ignored despite being as good as they are. Arriving at the scene in 2008 with And You Were A Crow
, they saw significant success with the single, ”Hard Times”
, but that was the end of their 15 minutes of fame. 2011’s Dogs
was met with little fanfare, but still managed to climb to #5 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers chart. It was especially frustrating to see them not get any attention in spite of creating two pretty solid albums, and they were written off as being too “indie”. That led to them taking a brief hiatus on December, 2012.
But, in June last year, they returned. The first single released from their 3rd album, Cry Wolf
, was such a departure from their previous work that it completely took me off guard. Although, elements from their past works were present in ”The Day You Were Born”
, it was a near 8 minute piece of epic proportions. Safe to say, expectations from the eventual release of the album were quite high. And that’s when they pulled another one out of left field when they announced that the release won’t be an album, per se, but it’d still be of album length. In fact, the record only has 5 tracks, but still clocks in at over 29 minutes.
The record opens with the aforementioned single and immediately sets the bar high. It borrows from the Progressive Rock genre whilst still keeping one foot on their Led Zeppelin influences. The lead singer, Mark Melicia, has shown significant growth over the 3 albums, and this might just be the best he has ever performed. ”Dead Man”
then follows with an Indian classical vibe, and features some excellent guitar/sitar work from David James Rosen. It’s an album favorite, and it’s evident by now that the band has implemented Prog Rock as the vehicle behind this album, and tried to move out of their old, Blues Rock, box. ”Doe Eyed Dear”
is a minor slip, and even though it’s still solid in parts, it feels disjointed in others as well. The closers ”Racing with a Beating Heart”
and the eponymous, ”Cry Wolf”
, are excellent choices, especially the former which doesn’t overstay its welcome even with a 05:51 run time.
The entire pseudo-album, then, is a fun listen. It’s different than anything they’ve ever done without having a flair for the dramatic. All the influences have been chosen with care and the performances from all the members takes center stage. The drumming, I would say, is a bit shoddy compared to what Sam Bey is known to do, but in saying that, he perhaps didn’t need to do much as the instrumental motifs carried all the tracks fairly well.
The Parlor Mob have always had their feet rooted firmly in the past, but this time, they have ventured out and done it beautifully. Choosing to do a 5 track album was excellent because it definitely erased the chances of any filler being present – a criticism which has been levied on their other two albums. And while the middle most track doesn’t quite measure up to the others, it still fits nicely in the overall scheme of things. You don’t need to be innovative all the time; you just need to be very, very good.