Parenthetical Girls - Privilege pt. V: Portrait of a Reputation EP - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Parenthetical Girls - Privilege pt. V: Portrait of a Reputation EP

by Al Brown Rating:6 Release Date:2012-09-24

Somewhere between the exquisite misery of The Smiths and the operatic vamping of Rufus Wainwright lie Parenthetical Girls, a band occasionally guilty of viewing earnest, dramatic sadness as an end in itself. 'Portrait of a Reputation' is all bluster and little substance: a half-baked prog-opera, admittedly with some nice lines. "The clever ones never make her come!" in particular, is delivered with hilarious mock-desperation. 'Brimstone & Vaseline' is a full on 80s goth thing. It actually sounds like more of a piss-take than anything, a bitter, tedious kiss-off whose melodramatic lyrics (combined with that over-familiar, sinister synth) never transcend parody.

'The Comedienne' is where this EP hits its stride, combining Future Islands-like emotional bombast with a creeping Antony and the Johnsons sense of sadness. 'Evelyn McHale (Reprise)' is a second take on what was, as my editor mentioned, a slightly crass piece of misery tourism, replacing the original's glam strings with doo-wop piano and less earnest vocals. The line "forgive this casual aside" may well be referring to the song itself - and I can forgive it, just. 'Keyholes and Curtains', meanwhile, is full of delightful, bubbling synth-bass and that dreamy, far-eastern mood which graced a certain strain of 80s pop, and resurfaced on Cliff Martinez's soundtrack to Drive last year.

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