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Album Review: Parenthetical Girls 12-inch "Privilege, Part One: On Death and Endearments"

Album Review: Parenthetical Girls 12-inch "Privilege, Part One: On Death and Endearments"


Parenthetical Girls' new album Privilege is going to be released on five separate, limited-edition 12-inch EPs over the next 15 months, with the final LP coming out in May of 2011. The LP release will include a special collector's box to hold all five vinyl discs.

Privilege, Part One: On Death and Endearments came out February 23rd on Slender Means Society, through which the vinyl EP and accompanying digital download can be purchased for $15. Make haste on that; they probably won't be around for too long considering that the pressings come in batches of 500 for each EP released.

Just to add to the personalization factor (not to mention creepy factor), each release will purportedly be hand numbered in the blood of one of the band members. The first to lend his appendage to calligraphic phlebotomy is none other than vocalist Zac Pennington.

Their last album, 2008's Entanglements, has been met with considerable praise, though often prefaced with warning to its at times overwhelming orchestration. If this first installment is any indication, they are returning to a compositional restraint that holds the mark of song writing experience.

The first track and chosen single, "Evelyn McHale," is named after the famously photographed 1947 Empire State Building jumper who appears to be resting peacefully atop the automobile that cushioned her rushing descent. This mid-tempo, catchy number makes a good starter and does well to cement the motif that is so unsubtly written into the EP's title. You can check "Evelyn McHale" as a downloadable MP3 over at Sterogum or as a music video here.

The four songs unravel a theme, if not a narrative, of melancholy situation created out of past mistakes and losses. The tracks seem to draw beauty out of the sadness of  days gone bye, while leaving some room for hope in the future. The cuts should not be categorized as depressing, instead they're better defined as mournful and nostalgic, although admittedly saturated in the idea of the mortality of the human life in past, present and future.

Though it may be hard to convince someone who is not already a fan to drop $15 dollars on a four-song collector's edition purchase, as an EP, the songs are not only quality, but emerge as artistically coherent both musically and lyrically.

Should the Girls continue to be consistent over the next 13 months or so, Privilege will be something that cannot be contained on a vinyl limited release.

- Joel Sommer

Published: March 14, 2010 |

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