photo by Vivien Sorge.
Digitally released last October to coincide with the anniversary of Germany reunification, Gone With The Flow, the second album from Para Lia recently received its physical release providing us a fresh reason to suggest that you check out its impressive body.
That unveiling in 2020 was linked to a moment in history which marks “a rather significant occasion for a band hailing from the Eastern part of a then-divided Germany” and was accompanied by a joint virtual exhibition with artist Louis Renzoni which is still available to enjoy. Gone With The Flow offered up a collection of songs which are seeded in that emotionally and historically momentous time but also have an intimacy which can be embraced to personal experiences.
Cottbus based, Para Lia weave a sound nurtured in a fusion of post punk and indie rock but equally one bearing its own individual breath. Even so at times it can maybe be best described as a creative tapestry bred in a melding of March Violets, Editors and Phillip Boa and the Voodoo Club. The duo of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist René Methner and vocalist Cindy Methner align and entangle radiant light and immersive shadows within that casting, every song within their latest full-length soaked in drama and emotion but equally an esurient catchiness which proved just as manipulative.
The successor to Soap Bubble Dreams, the pair’s acclaimed 2019 debut album, Gone With The Flow immediately gripped attention with My Muse. Instantly it is cantering through ears with virulence, riffs and melodic coaxing striking a mix of something familiar and freshly individual which instantly burrowed under the skin. The band has a certain eighties/nineties post punk/indie flavouring to their music with the former a rich hue in the song’s invitation and its subsequent fuller embrace. René’s vocals are just as captivating and soon joined by the siren-esque backing of Cindy’s, the outstanding track in full contagion within its first minute and escalating the infection with melodic enterprise; a threading with the shadowed air of The Sound to it.
It is a glorious start to the release which the following Fade To Grey reinforces. It opens with a similar template to its invitation as that of its predecessor but quickly springs its own unique adventure and infectious temptation. With a darker air to its breath and an emotive tempestuous which is further exposed by Rene’s thoughts and voice, the track offers a compelling mix of darkwave and alt rock dexterity while Children Of The Flood explores a melodic rock nurtured landscape with its own shadowed intimacy and highly persuasive infection. Featuring the voice and synth of Fady Haddad, the song was as mesmeric as it was suggestively imposing with the album continuing its striking start.
Kassandra is next up and calmly entices with a minimalistic guitar lure and soon after Cindy’s vocal tempting. That serenity, if with its own dark hue, continues but erupts with regularity into fiery sonic contemplations and a subsequent blaze which sears the senses; again we can only say that Para Lia had us enthralled.
Though making a slightly less striking impact, Riders On The Dike, which sees vocalist Amanda Kim Sanderson guesting, only had the body bouncing and appetite feasting. Though instantly uncaging its own eager catchiness through thick psych rock haze, the song was more of a grower on personal tastes but subsequently has its hooked inescapably in before Fools caught the imagination with its dark intimation, skilfully woven drama and the bewitching cello of Terry Wigmore. The song is threat and seduction in its climate, fascination in its tempting and another major highlight of the already irresistible release.
Fady Haddad again offers her synth prowess to Fire (My Chemical Imbalance), the song a lighter affair with a synth pop inclination that the body could not resist swinging with; the imagination again absorbed in its creative theatre.
Another to take its time to persuade but leaving a potent pleasure in its wake nonetheless was Time And Again, the ballad an evolving tempest of emotion and volatility, while Kaleidoscope, with a sound wonderfully shifting in reflection of its title, made a more immediate submission of body and involvement to urge even more lustiness in rich enjoyment.
Again there is a touch of Adrian Borland (The Sound) in the songwriting and dark emotion of The Painter, again that post punk inspiration a delicious lure as across the whole of Gone With the Flow and indeed in closing track, No Time For Butterflies. The last song has a more nagging essence to its low key but irrepressible infectiousness, one with an air of The Woodentops to it, but also bears a melodic and vocal fire which is melodic rock diverse and an orchestral caress which effortlessly wooed.
It is a superb end to a sublime release, one which however you catch it deserves a thick slab of your time.
Gone With The Flow is available digitally and on CD and vinyl @ https://paralia.bandcamp.com/album/gone-with-the-flow
Pete RingMaster 11/03/2021
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