New York City-based band Parlour Tricks (formerly Lily and the Parlour Tricks) were named Best Pop Band of 2014 by the Village Voice but the type of pop music they produce isn’t quite what you envision when you hear “New York City.” With their lovely three part harmonies (Lily Claire on lead vocals with backup from Morgane Moulherat and Darah Golub) and the folksy accompaniment of Brian Kelsey, Terry Moore, and Angelo Spagnalo manning everything from harmoniums to keyboards to guitars played with paintbrushes, their music sounds like something grown wild in the countryside, with lead singer Lily Claire’s voice a bright flower on the vine.
Parlour Tricks’ new single, “The Storm” veers toward the rootsy, evoking the vocals-forward sound bands like The Be Good Tanyas and Fleet Foxes. Lily Claire’s voice is the focal point of the song: you’ll either love or hate her lilting soprano. The gorgeous, grounding harmonies of Morgane Moulherat and Darah Golub kick in after a few bars along with the tight and restrained playing of the rest of the band, but much like the music of Joanna Newsom, if you’re not already on board with Lily Claire’s voice, you’ll probably never get to the chorus.
For those of us in the “love” camp, the song is a sweet, upbeat ode to an “Olympian love/Who told me he’d stay when the going got tough.” Like all the best pop songs, it’s a short (just under three and a half minutes) of “deep breaths,” “crossed fingers” and heartbreak. The sweetest kind.
Buzzy Jackson's newest book is "The Inspirational Atheist: Wise Words on the Wonder and Meaning of Life" (Penguin/Plume). She writes for the Boston Globe and on her own blog at BuzzyJackson.com. Buzzy lives in Boulder, Colorado and she believes that, some day, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey will get back together.
They just have to.