Psychologists say that every person begins to develop their own taste for music around age 12 or so. Generally, this is built on the preferences of our closest peers, most often opting to consume the easily-accessible passive listening experience of whatever hyperglycemic confection is being spewed from the top 40. However, occasionally we can far exceed the influence around us and rise above the consumerism brought to the music industry by the turn of the century and the internet to voraciously pursue all that we can get our ears on. Those of us that do usually take it as far as we can, squandering 50, 60, 70% of our paychecks at record stores, realizing that Pitchfork and Consequence of Sound appear on our search bar before Facebook and Gmail. And there comes a time when you realize that you’ve hit that point. The point where hundreds of CDs and LPs are beginning to take up all your shelf space; said albums are arranged in either alphabetical or chronological order, with key albums displayed in frames or turned into clocks; you find that you read about music as much as you listen to it; you can sit in your room with a Radiohead LP and listen to it start to finish without leaving or even checking your phone; chances are you’re a musician yourself and have spent exponentially more cash in hopes of being able to make something of, or dare you even say better than, the quality of the music in your collection; you’ve studied The Beatles and Neutral Milk Hotel as though they were Holy Scriptures, practiced your Morrissey-inflections, and learned all of Isaac Brock’s oddball guitar tactics. You’re an addict.
If this is sounding all too familiar, you’re in the perfect place to appreciate Parade Chic.
Secret Dream, though only a demo, proves to be spectacular first listen. And second listen. And third listen. And fourth. Et cetera, et cetera. Soaked in reverb and coated in melancholy, the demo wraps you into its world and pulls you along what may very well be of the few essential Buffalo Releases of this year, largely due to its nods to the past. “Offers” opens with a collage of cymbals reminiscent of Radiohead’s “Reckoner,” before jolting into a Wilco-doing-a-Beatles-hit verse and chorus, resolving the same way it came in. As “Dilemmas” begins, ties are instantly made to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, until the warbly keyboard opens the sonic boundaries of the song. Low in the mix, clanging guitars and high frequency modulations can be excavated, demonstrating that a lot of this demo is about sleight of hand. While you were busy concentrating on the simple bop of the acoustic guitar chords and vocal melody, extra terrestrial synthesizers finally apprehended the mix, just in time for the album’s highlight: “The Birds.” The minor key descent of mood becomes sinister as muted mariachi brass infringes on the song’s bridge and drags it through stretches of time. All throughout the track, you can find tonal nods to The Smiths, Modest Mouse, and (more of a stretch) The Doors. The sequencing and psych-synths of “Ten Year’s Time” and “One And Only Secret Dream” further the band’s textural diversity, and prove just how much you can do with lo-fi.
Though they’ll tell you it’s only a demo, this little DIY release could make waves on its own before they even re-record and release the EP, and the sound quality plays a major role in the atmospheric feel of the demo. After all, some of the greatest records of all time were made this way.
Recommended for fans of: Any band listed above.
Catch them live: Dec 21-The Forvm (With Yesterday Vs. Tomorrow and more)