Montreal, Canada is the home to indie rock band Parlovr (pronounced as “parlour”). The group initially formed in 2006 with Louis David Jackson (guitar, vocals) and Alex Cooper (keyboard, vocals). However, the band wasn’t complete until 2007 when drummer Jeremy MacCuish rounded out the lineup. Their self-titled, and independently released, debut album was delivered in late 2008. The album received a lot of indie press in Canada, and even Spin magazine named the band “one to watch” out of Montreal. Parlovr took their act to the road, and toured extensively throughout Canada, New York, France, and Europe, with acts like the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand. The trio bring more of their dubbed “sloppy pop” with sophomore release, Kook Soul, which came out on May 15, 2012 on Dine Alone Records.
On the Caltrain from San Francisco to Band of the Day HQ in Mountain View, there's a stop with a sign that says BVRLINGAME—which is pronounced “Burlingame” and not “Beaver-lin-game.” Likewise, Montreal, Canada's Parlovr (pronounced “parlor”) favors using (or vsing?) v's for u's and even declare, “Only you can but the U back in PARLOVR” on their Twitter account. We're not exactly sure what that means, but what we are sure of is that Parlovr makes music that is nothing short of exciting. Just as Dr. Frankenstein harnessed the power of electricity to galvanize the monster's lifeless body, Parlovr harnesses the power of rock and roll to breathe life into their latest album, 2012's Kook Soul.
It's the sophomore release from Parlovr, following their 2008 self-titled debut. While their first album gave a good taste of Parlovr's self-described “sloppy pop” music stylings—bringing together influences ranging from the Pixies, to Guided By Voices, to Arcade Fire on songs like “Pen to the Paper”—Kook Soul is even more dynamic, spanning from the more subdued “Bad Faith” to the retro-yet-futuristic “4000.” Conjuring images of jitterbugging at the hop, perhaps in an attempt to work off the calories from a chocolate malted milkshake doused with whipped cream, is “Amaze-Me-Jane.” Though the keys and guitar riffs have a distinct 50s/rockabilly-influenced sound, the vocals are pure punk as lead vocalist Alex Cooper demandingly screams, “amaze me, Jane!”
Temporarily stepping away from the chaos is “You Only Want It 'Cause You're Lonely.” It starts off with soaring “ooh-oohs” and stripped down instrumentation, a gently-strummed electric guitar and the slightest hint of keys in the background, before building up on the line, “you only want it 'cause you're lonely!”
One of the stand-out moments on Kook Soul comes from “General Hell (True Love Fades),” which is also the longest track on the album at 4'33.” Like the musical equivalent of a Russian nesting doll, it manages to sound like three different songs without ever feeling disjointed. The first layer is a mid-tempo power-pop jam, taking time to build up into the second act, which has a doo-wop piano riff underscoring Cooper's declarations of, “true love fades.” This builds up to the song's climax, which repeats lyrics from the first verse (“he's seen all the deserts/and the ocean, too/maybe he's a cuckoo/this is a general hell!”)—only this time it's accompanied by a ramped-up tempo shift, shouting, and all the instruments swirling together in a wonderful whirlwind of shambolic noise. This is the epitome of what Parlovr does best—melding together chaos with excellent pop melodies to produce some of the most exhilarating songs of the year.