When we last updated you on Parenthetical Girls, they had just signed to Tomlab, were about to tour with Au and Los Campesinos! and we shared a non-album track with you, an excellent OMD cover that has become a staple at their live shows.
“A Song for Ellie Greenwich” is the first track we’ve been able to share with you from their stunning and lushly orchestrated new full-length album, Entanglements. The album will be released on September 9, 2008 on CD, LP, and digital formats via Tomlab. Ahead of the album, the group will release a 7″ on Aagoo Records as a part of David Horvitz’s picture disc series.
“His legs gave way like pages from a pop-up book…”
Long-time traffickers in the business of viscerally disarming disquiet, Portland, OR’s Parenthetical Girls trade in small-screen, corporal sincerity for a bold and blustering Technicolor – a lush, longing and lusty celluloid schmaltz they call Entanglements.
An orchestral song cycle of grand sonic ambition, Entanglements is an eleven-song, linear narrative of ascendancy, adolescent sexuality, quantum mechanics, consent, and other moral ambiguities – all set to an elaborately orchestrated olio of Modern Classical and timeworn, traditional American pop forms.
Borrowing from the string-swept sentimentality of unlikely pop-ulists like Van Dyke Parks, Scott Walker, Jack Nitzsche, and Burt Bacharach, Entanglements draws colorful lines across the expanse between these orchestral pop antiquities and the more formidable strains of Modern Classical composers – its hues distantly reminiscent of names like Krzysztof Penderecki, Philip Glass, and Gavin Bryars. The result – as blended with Parenthetical Girls’ already messily dripping palette – is an unsettlingly relentless emotional offensive; a gasping, restless confluence of cerebral and sentimental disparities, bound for their mutual allegiance to the uncannily timeless soundtrack that engulfs them both.
Drafted in fits and starts over the course of the last three years, the seeds for Entanglements were initially conceived by Parenthetical Girls founder Zac Pennington as a conceptual/orchestral follow-up to (((GRRRLS))), the band’s self-released (and largely ignored) debut. When the task eventually proved too daunting for Pennington – a relative non-musician – alone, the project was abandoned in favor of a more sonically direct approach; a tact that would eventually birth the band’s critically acclaimed sophomore record, 2006’s Safe As Houses.
Following years of fluctuating ranks (past line-ups included members of The Dead Science and Casiotone For the Painfully Alone, among many others), Pennington at last drafted what was to become a permanent Parenthetical Girls line-up-core multi-instrumentalists Matt Carlson, Eddy Crichton, and Rachael Jensen, along with constant studio collaborator Jherek Bischoff (The Dead Science, Ribbons) – who would prove to be the final components necessary to realize the long-abandoned Entanglements project. Aided immeasurably by Carlson’s classically trained hand, the group set about eschewing Indie Rock’s propensity for orchestral dabbling by forgoing the “Rock” almost completely. (Incidentally: there is exactly one note of guitar in all of the record’s blisteringly brief thirty-two minutes). As a result, Entanglements is foremost a modern Orchestral Pop record – its motifs dissected and appropriated from a century’s worth of sources, and reconfigured anew into something altogether different.
Recorded between Seattle, WA and Portland, OR over the course of two strenuous months, the Entanglements sessions gathered upwards of twenty-five classically trained/experimental musicians to realize the songs’ dense and dramatic arrangements, as laid to paper by both Carlson and long-time (((GRRRLS))) producer/engineer Bischoff (with additional assistance from Dead Science frontman Sam Mickens). The lavish orchestral sprawl is matched only in the album’s ornately disconcerting narrative, all crooned and cooed in Pennington’s liltingly familiar falsetto. The result is uncannily ageless, sensually unsettling, and above all else, extraordinarily ambitious.
This is the spooky action at a distance. And these are Entanglements.
PARENTHETICAL GIRLS LINKS:
Press Materials: tomlabel.com/parentheticalgirls
Band site: www.slendermeanssociety.com/parenthetical
Label Page: tomlab.com