Joan Collins’ corpse crawls through our doorway, browned blood caked to her sheer cheekbones and flecked across her powder blue eye-shadow. She tells of torturous journeys of escape, disguised as a white feather caught in the twiggy hair of the ferryman on the river Styx. We were surprised she was in Hell too, but then we saw “The Stud” and realised why. So, just as we think our days are numbered and our brains are chow for the high class Hollywood undead, she fires up our computer and types in some URLs before slithering back into the cold dark.
We are one step ahead of old Joan though, as Parallels have been on our radar since their arrival on MySpace two years ago. Back then they were a sinister vocodered Atari nightmare, the demons to IDIB’s angelic Mirage. The sinister element happily remains, but now the vocoder is vanquished by the desolately serene vocals of Holly Dodson, who spirits away the essence of Kate Bush and locks it away in a labyrinthine fortress made of circuit boards, black mist and marbled perspex.
“Reservoir” ticks all the nu-’80s boxes of awesome, with melancholy vocals from Holly amidst bleeding-heart synth washes, but there is an air of authenticity that breezes through the track that is only glimpsed at on most of the new wave of New Wave who mostly, if not all, are born on MySpace. It even seems wrong to make you listen to it as an mp3 – if we could send you all a cassette and any one of these to play it on then that would be ideal.
Are you bored of bands having crystals in their name yet? Joan’s eternally damned spirit just loves Crystal Antlers, Crystal Castles, Crystal Stilts, Twin Crystals et al, and now she has fixed her glassy yellow demon eyes on Crystal. Crystal are a Tokyo-based band of musicians and designers with a new 12″ on Institubes, featuring a sound that is pummelled into an object with a gleaming smooth surface by enough bombastic ’80s syndrums to level club Tech Noir. The stadium beats of “Initiative!”
“Flight Of The Navigator” dawn-escape synths join together with Depeche Mode “People Are People” drums that chop all things into a fine crystalline mist breathed in by body-popping bots that shreds through metallic oesophaguses inducing gastro-oil meltdowns, the black liquid spewed forth from pained metal faces in slow motion once the moonbase synths phase in at the 1.24 mark.
In these chambers of darkened warehouses chopped into a surreal construction of totemic mazes, the dry ice staccato beats awaken all kinds of beasts of vice, some suited and sprayed with cologne, some red-eyed and raw from the kill. The Moon renders all imagery in black and blue as the desecrated graves of Landlord, Armando, Hercules and Lil’ Louis break open to release the spectres of Chicago house:
This very track will appear on the “Moments Of A Crisis” compilation on I’m A ClichÃ©, where the streets of Paris will shift into the same maze-like schism once someone presses play.
“In Motion”, with slowly flaring synth lines and cosmopolitan Euro beats, conjures the joyous images of swimming pools in the summer, with palm trees and desert vistas in the background, lotharios and their various companions floating on the cool and clear waters, happy in the knowledge that the moneys still rolling in, the jet is being prepped for the journey to the next party and the valet has parked the ferrari in the shade and out of the sun.