Share PARADING - Parading (Z-Man Records)
Shimmering guitar harmonics and otherworldly vocals mix it with confronting walls of sound on this five-track debut EP for Melbourne three-piece Parading, the latest band to ink with the growing Z-Man roster of label owner/publicist/tree-changer Lou Ridsdale. Parading includes members of The Stabs and The Witch Hats so their pedigree is solid.

Think of this EP as a sampler for the forthcoming album and you'll probably be close to the mark. Parading fit so neatly into the post-punk/slacker noise pigeonhole that's so beloved of what passes for alternative radio these days it's hard to believe they're not already all over the local airwaves. Take the disembodied drone of "No Matter": Driving drums and gated vocals skate over thick slabs of icy guitar before a dissonant outro kicks in and cuts the track dead. Others might have done it better and first but this ain't a bad shot.

"Where Are You Taking Us" is a six-plus-minute snuff movie that borrows its tone, if not lyricism, from the late Rowland S Howard. I've no idea what's bugging vocalist Thomas Barry but the odds are shorter than one of Snow White's little dwarf fuck buddies that he's not a happy man. There's some festering noise guitar again at the death, this time from guest Alex Jarvis, but as a song, this one's an endurance test that's like a rare badly-written Seinfeld episode i.e. it goes nowhere faster than usual.

"Radio 5" follows and is a lighter, melodic instrumental. Being wedged against its predecessor doesn't hurt the contrast. Although ultimately slight in its impact, it proves Parading to be no one trick ponies. "Alexandra Pde" is another vocal-less track that exhibits a band with a good sense of dynamics. You just may not play a whole album of these songs.

Just when you're begining to wonder, Tom Barry's guitar-playing really comes into its own on the closing "First Time", and if you ignore his off-key vocal and lyrics about "my friend that fucked your tree" it's a slow burn that spirals off into the stratosphere with a fiery denouement. Worth the price of admission on its own, I'd think. - The Barman


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