Review Summary: We make adult decisions.....
There’s an expectation for punk music to impart some sort of societal or political statement against the status quo, and to do so while sounding like the smartest people in the room. If you designate your band to the punk moniker as Russian Girlfriends have, any sort of notoriety you gain will inevitably be examined under the lens of the “scene” at large by the oldheads and how your product contributes to its betterment. Now because I didn’t see my name listed as a member of Russian Girlfriends last time I checked, I’m not claiming to know their intentions or impulses behind the music they write. And while In the Parlance of Our Times
does indeed impart its fair share of insights, it’s the band’s style of storytelling that’s a breath of fresh air from a world taking itself way too seriously lately that makes these songs so magnetic.
Looking at some of In the Parlance of Our Times’
song titles, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume you know the subject matter contained therein. And for the most part you’d be right, but only to a certain degree. “Pride Parade” isn’t about LGBQT struggles and triumphs, it’s about getting caught up in a pride parade on the way home from work, losing your inhibitions and succumbing to the celebratory atmosphere. This song, like many others reaches an end point of understanding or acceptance, but Russian Girlfriends sincerely don’t care about sounding intellectual or “woke” while getting there. This attitude is reflected in the music of In the Parlance of Our Times
as well, which relies on standard punk-style riffing heavy with catchy, punchy rhythms. Album opener “Coke” is easily the most traditionally punk-esque offering on the record, with the band settling into an infectious hybrid of hardcore punk with pop sensibilities for the remainder of the record.
In the Parlance of Our Times
succeeds because of its overflowing passion and personality, with the primary contributor being vocalist Adam Hooks. Quite simply, Hooks is brilliant throughout In the Parlance of Our Times
, as he displays a charisma and aggression that elevates every facet of the record. Even the messages seem to translate better thanks to Hooks’ soulful delivery acting as the proverbial spoonful of sugar. The interplay between the guitar work and Hooks’ melodies creates an irresistible concoction. This formula culminates in a record full of memorable moments like the roaring opening of “Obsidian” or the blink-182 via Dude Ranch
vibes of “Mark Knopfler Is My Moral Compass”. In the Parlance of Our Times
flashes by very quickly, demanding multiple listens and revealing more gold upon every successive dive. So are Russian Girlfriends pushing punk music forward with this offering? Probably not, and I don’t think they care and really, what’s more punk than that?