Ringmaster Reviews -The Hours Down
Ahead of a new EP due towards the end of June, we catch up with its predecessor The Hours Down EP which came out just three or so weeks ago. Consisting of five magnetic encounters from the individual imagination of Canadian band parker BOMBSHELL, the release is a captivating eighties bred dance which leaves feet eagerly agitated and thoughts thoroughly engaged. The band has evolved dramatically since its early days as just Parker, but has always reaped the richest essences of original synth pop and modern indie pop for a contagious enticement, which easily sums up The Hours Down EP.
The adventure of Toronto duo singer/songwriter Tom McNeil (also renowned for his podcast Addictions & Other Vices at Audioburger.com) and songwriter/singer/producer Thomas Ryder Payne, parker BOMBSHELL bring inspirations of the likes of Peter Gabriel, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Billy Bragg, The Cure, The Smiths, Squeeze, Blondie and many more into their own elegant offerings. The latest release is the first in a series of four EPs which will make up debut album The Hours Down, each examining the five steps of recovery from depression and trauma. On the evidence of The Hours Down EP its full-length namesake promises to be an intriguing and absorbing experience.
Latest single Dust opens up the EP, and immediately casts a celestial sparkling of key spawned notes. The enchanted air is soon thickened with coaxing melodies and welcoming harmonies as a brewing energy builds behind the temptation. The track is soon settles into a slow but purposeful stroll, McNeil laying down his rich baritone yet mellow tones upon the musicianship of Payne to great effect and success but it is when the mesmeric voice of guest Rebekah Higgs comes into view that the song truly catches the imagination. With echoing harmonies and robust pulsating beats accompanying her entrance, tingles are sent down the spine as a seductive tempting spreads its bait before being embraced by the full weight and enterprise of the encounter again. The song as potent as it is initially is also a slow burner which just gets stronger and more welcomingly intrusive over each taking of its riveting creative emprise.
The following Long Drawn Out Goodbyes has a task indeed to follow the impressive start and it does itself no harm with an initial jangle of China Crisis like guitar amidst expressive breath of keys. The song moves into a potent stride soon after led by again punchy beats under an umbrella of evocative melodic expression sculpted by keys and synths. As expected that eighties spice is a prevalent enticement, elements of OMD and again eighties synth pop seeping into the colour of the song. Like a few of the tracks on the EP it does not explode or erupt as expected, and at times hoped, but gently smoulders with a melancholic like allure until reaching its more pungently enriched climax, a finale soaked in an enthralling drama and intensity.
Another Great Depression sweeps in next, a dark resonance the breeding ground for shadowed keys and great niggling guitar to beckon over which synths tantalise and tempt. Through the heart of it the vocals of McNeill smoothly unveil the narrative and emotive shadows of the song, his voice holding sway against the evolving textures and enterprise of Payne, whose darker throated tones add a menacing depth to the emerging landscape of the song. Like the first track it is a proposition which only grows and impresses more over time, and even though its initial encounter is not as impacting as that of Dust, it eventually puts that right to add another rich aspect to the release.
The brief but decent ballad Stuck Here comes next; voice and keys primarily casting emotive hues for thoughts to run with. It does not spark the same appetite as other songs, feeling like it is either unfinished or an intro to a song, though not its successor on the EP I would suggest. It is strong and appealing but out of place where it is, neither working as an interlude nor as mentioned as a lead into the last track Sucking Retail. The closer is a mixed bag of irresistible magnetism and towering temptation, but an offering which ebbs and flows in potency and success at times. Its crescendos are magnificent, contagious enticements which enslave the passions with nostalgic but fresh enterprise and vivacity but the moments in between, whilst laying out engaging bait, lack the dynamics and sheer drama of its better moments.
Nevertheless it is a fine end to a very appetizing release which fans of organic synth pop will find plenty to enjoy in. It is a strong start to the emerging debut album from parker BOMBSHELL; time will tell if it is sustained but right now it is easy to be confident about that.
The Hours Down EP is available now @ http://parkerbombshell.com