Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Whispertown, Parallel

Whispertown's Parallel is a solid new EP from Morgan Nagler and company, following '08 album Swim under the name The Whispertown 2000.  Parallel sees a shift from somewhat spare, raw instrumentation and a folk-pop sound into more electronica territory at times.  Nagler's voice, with a touch of whine, and what Paste writer M.T. Richards describes as a "hungover" quality, may be an acquired taste and shapes the tone of the songs.

The title track is the strongest, telling of two people who would seem to be on deceptively different wavelengths.  "It's easy to tell that we are parallel," Nagler sings.  "You are far away even if you stay there" and "Marching side by side/Even deaf and blind."

In another standout track, "Open the Other Eye," she addresses someone contemplating giving up on life:  "If you don't want to wake up/I recommend a deep sleep/Uninterrupted, it's a balance beam." She encourages deeper insight in saying, "Open the other eye" (Third Eye?).

"The Fall" talks about needing to open up and participate fully in life.  With the exception of one cringeworthy tearing-down-the-Great-Wall reference, the song has lyrics that resonate:  "I was meant to be the wall coming down/I was meant to be the fall" and "I'd trade it all in for . . . the comfort of an old friend."

The EP stumbles a bit with "Blood from Wine," a jangly duet that seems out of place on this seven-song collection.  But, overall, Parallel is cohesive, displaying both a healthy dose of musical evolution and a satisfying continuity with previous efforts.

Rating:  3 out of 5 stars.

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