Ever the pragmatists, Parenthetical Girls are in the midst of releasing Privilege–the band’s new full length–as a box set of five extremely limited 12″ EPs on their own Slender Means Society label. These EPs will be sold separately in sequence every quarter over the next 15 months, each as they are completed. They will not be distributed to stores. As the cycle concludes, the fifth and final 12″ will come packaged in a beautiful, aesthetically cohesive LP box designed to house all four of the preceding releases, forming the complete Privilege album. Limited to 500 physical copies per EP, the 12″s will each feature original art by renowned Swedish illustrator Jenny Mörtsell, and will be hand-numbered in the blood of their respective band members. The fourth 12″–subtitled Sympathy For Spastics–will be released on November 1, 2011, and will be
numbered in the blood of cover star/Parenthetical Girl Amber Smith.
Having taken pop extravagance to its logical conclusion with their critically acclaimed Orchestral Pop opus Entanglements, Parenthetical Girls have given the orchestra their leave–and the resulting transformation is no less momentous. Returning to its core membership of vocalist/creative director Zac Pennington and producer/arranger Jherek Bischoff, the group set about a path that they have heretofore never really charted: that of sonic restraint. And though the results could scarcely be called subtle, the language of Privilege is direct and unambiguous–a new creative candor that’s felt in both its words and music. It’s Parenthetical Girls in fighting trim, and the difference is both immediate and undeniable.
The group continues this ambitious experiment with Privilege, pt IV: Sympathy For Spastics–a bizarre and bombastic four-song suite of familial entrapments, the sexual politics of class warfare, and blissful resignation. The EP opens upon “The Privilege,” a meditative exploration of family discord and terminal nostalgia. “A Note To Self” follows, an uncharacteristically upbeat pop pastiche about coming to terms with critical failure, personal resentments, and creative responsibility. “Entitlements” is a spiteful attack on the indulgences of privileged self-pity (with wincingly direct allusions to a particular patron saint of privileged malaise), while “Sympathy For Spastics” explores the often bleakly patronizing intersection of class and sexual politics. Together, they comprise a bold, strikingly cohesive pop clarion call that further solidifies Parenthetical Girls’ place amongst the most surprising and uncompromising pop groups at work today. And there’s more where that came from.
Nov 5 Portland, OR: Backspace
Dec 1 Brooklyn, NY: GLASSLANDS *
Dec 2 Purchase, NY: SUNY PURCHASE
Dec 8 Annandale-on-Hudson, NY: SMOG (Bard College)
* = w/ Gauntlet Hair
Privilege IV: Sympathy For Spastics
(Slender Means Society)
Street Date: Nov. 1, 2011
1. The Privilege
2. A Note To Self
4. Sympathy for Spastics