If you haven't bought any albums in 2017, you are going to want to buy Subculture by Parralox. It is fantastic!
This is their first album of original material since their 2015 album Aeronaut. Since then, they have released Holiday '15 and Holiday '16. As always, click on the name to read our reviews. And if you don't know Parralox, check out our interview with John back in 2015. And here is our review of Subculture.
1. "Paradise" featuring Marcella Detroit starts off the album. The track is light and airy with a Spanish flamenco feel to it. It's a lovely song that just happens to be about breaking up with someone.
2. "Electric Nights" featuring Johanna Gervin. This is the Parralox song that fans have been waiting years for. The first version was recorded in 2008 with original singer Roxy. However, the song was never officially released — only in Megamix 2008. Some of Roxy's vocals remain on the new version. Johanna takes the lead vocals for the first time, while Louise and John chime in with backing vocals. This will be the first single from the album. Such an amazing song! We can't wait for the single release!
3. "Key to the Door of Heaven" featuring Louise Love takes all of the great elements of early 90s dance music while bringing it current to 2017. I absolutely love how the chorus wraps the lyrics so smartly around the melody.
4. "Give Me Back My Lovin" featuring Lilla sounds like it has a bit of a Stock Aitken Waterman feel to the track. It even has a glorious key change. Now, you might remember that singer Lilla was in John's former band Nova.
5. "Change Of Heart" is definitely one of the best songs on the album, and it is sung by John himself. We love, love, love this song. It very much deserves to be a single.
6. "A Question of Love" featuring Louise Love. The best way to describe this song is to imagine it is a Depeche Mode song in which Susan Ann Sulley from The Human League is singing along with them. It's definitely a darker song on the album, but we think it is amazing. This one deserves to be a single, too!
7. "Jupiter" featuring Louise Love is a space-age love song. It definitely is the track that lets you catch your breath. Beautiful and haunting.
8. "Pressure Point" by Louise Love picks the pace back up. The music reminds me of the Pet Shop Boys. Louise just makes the vocals sound so effortlessly. Is that Speak and Spell in the middle? The song never mentions the words "Pressure Point" so when I look at the title, I have a hard time recalling the tune — but it is a good one!
9. "Overdrive" featuring Ian Burden. Who is Ian Burden? Well he used to be in The Human League! And he plays the bass on this song. John is on vocals with Louise on backing vocals. The song also has subtle key changes. The bass guitar with the synths is great.
10. "Last Year at Marienbad" featuring Louise Love is so AMAZING! This has to be single because I just can't get enough of it. It is a duet sung by John and Louise. It reminds me of The Human League in the best possible way! We featured the song last year in Poptastic Confessions when it debuted on a radio show.
11. "Last Man Standing" featuring Peter Wilson is a fun track. Who is Peter Wilson? Well he is an Australian singer who loves Bananarama! (Who doesn't love them?) Anyhow, "Last Man Standing" starts off sounding a bit like Kylie in her Stock Aitken Waterman days — only with Peter singing. Having said that, it's not that retro. It's got a great melody and it will have you singing along in no time. Peter does a great job on vocals.
12. "Voyager II" featuring Louise Love was originally released in a shorter version on the Holiday '15 album. In the past, "II" has been designated for Parralox songs that have the same name, but are indeed different songs. "Voyager II" is the same song as "Voyager" so this new version is really more like an extended version. Regardless, both versions are great. "Voyager" came in at #42 in our 2016 countdown.
13. "Rocket Science II" is also the same song as "Rocket Science" that was featured on Holiday '15. This is also like an extended version. Both versions are amazing as John sings the lead vocals. "Rocket Science" came in at #28 in our 2016 countdown.
14. "86G" featuring A7-H is really the odd track on the album. It reminds me of the Eurythmics soundtrack album 1984 (For The Love of Big Brother). However, this is much more modern sounding.
Listen to the album sampler here ...
Subculture is an amazing album. John really did a wonderful job here. The only thing that would have made it better is if it had included their 2014 song "Crying On The Dancefloor" featuring Francine, as that song never appeared on a Parralox album. Having said that, the album is pretty perfect. And we love Parralox. You should, too!
Our single picks are:
1. "Electric Nights"
2. "Last Year At Marienbad"
3. "Change Of Heart"
4. "A Question Of Love"
Subculture is available on digital outlets everywhere as of January 29. You can even buy the physical CD at Conzoom, if they have any copies left. My physical CD arrived on Christmas Eve! Don't delay! Buy your copy today!
For more information on Parralox, check out their official website. You can also like their official Facebook page, and while you are there please like our Poptastic Confessions Facebook page!