|The Living Proof|
Sunparlour Players — The Living Proof
Ξ "Handsome Strong Mustard."
Location: Leamington ~ Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Album release: April 8, 2014
Record Label: Outside Music
01 Soapbox 3:11
02 I Hope This Isn't the End for You 1:45
03 For This I Can't Be Sure 3:55
04 By Your Side 3:23
05 How to Make Ginger Bourbon Apple Butter 1:53
06 Old Fashioned Face 2:53
07 Erie Lake Moses 3:28
08 Almanac 2:18
09 How to Build a Fort with Nothing 3:30
10 Nain Rouge 2:56
11 Bless This City 4:56
℗ 2014 Sunparlour Players
Ξ All music and words by the Sunparlour Players. © Shawna Naklicki
By Kristin Cavoukian, APR 04 2014, Score: 9
Ξ When Sunparlour Players released their first album in 2007, they were a trio in a scene full of ten–person bands, and easily filled stages and albums with a full band's worth of sound. Now a duo, Toronto musicians Andrew Penner and Michael "Rosie" Rosenthal continue that fine tradition on their fourth album, The Living Proof.
Ξ The record starts with the biting garage attack of "Soapbox" and eases into the warm, acoustic–led "For This I Can't Be Sure" and "By Your Side." Penner's evocative yet open–ended lyrics lend themselves to interpretation but also pay homage to his Leamington, Ontario upbringing. "Nain Rouge" revisits the city of Detroit, a familiar locale in Penner's songs, and the final track, "Bless This City," captures the mood of failing and scandal–plagued towns on both sides of the border. His farm country roots and penchant for preserves show on "How to Make Ginger Bourbon Apple Butter," which is exactly what the name suggests: a recipe, narrated by Hugh Oliver over Rhea Brandenburg's delightfully out–of–tune piano.
Ξ Thoughtful instrumentation and rich vocal harmonies bring the best out in these songs. Glockenspiel, stomps and hand claps, so often overused, are added here in just the right places, while spare banjo is paired with a rich snare drum sound on "Erie Lake Moses," a song reminiscent of something the Rheostatics might have penned. Ξ And thanks to artful mixing and mastering (Chris Stringer, Fedge), heavier tracks like "Almanac" punctuate the mood without overpowering softer songs.
Ξ The result is a bold display of Sunparlour Players' passionate songwriting and delivery, and a great album. :: http://exclaim.ca/
Ξ A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ξ As yet more proof that later generations' hybridizations are turning out wondrous new wrinkles on established genre modes, Sunparlour Players have released their fourth CD, The Living Proof, and it's an extremely satisfying blend of folk, rock, cleverly slipstreamed atonalities, ballad, roots, and, well, one or two styles I can't even place. The group itself is a duo, Andrew Penner and Michael Rosenthal, with minimal sessioneering, and the band has been increasingly well received, so much so that it's now in the middle of an extensive Canadian tour. How the hell they're going to pull off this elegant, and at times abrupt (Soapbox might well jar your back molars), music in and of themselves is beyond me, so I'm guessing they'll be accompanied, ensconced in a band.
Ξ In places, I'm vaguely reminded of Gravy Train, a cool old 70s band now forgotten but which experimented with folk, rock, prog, and psychedelia, as well as Gungor, a modern husband and wife duet ensemble producing musics with just as much grandeur, happiness, positivity, and unexpected side avenues, but Sunparlour Players cleaves closer to the bottom–most style. This means that a good deal of Proof would be highly appealing to Harry Nilsson, latterday Nashville hipsters, and, of course, the gaggle of incredibly talented roots musicians in the huge Upper North 40 part of NorthAm: Canadaland.
Andrew Penner, multi–instrumentalist, singer, and the cat who handles the largest part of writing, possesses a fetchingly sincere aching voice reaching to a saner future than the present is ready to portend, and the songs oft build into the light cast by those ideations, even when serially truncated, as in the clever repeating chorus of By Your Side. Mike Rosenthal, percussionist and backing vox (and some bass work along with Penner), doesn't just man the traps and glockenspiel and bells but glows in the mix, his presence as additive as the skins and doodads. Then, of course, there's Hugh Oliver actually reading the recipe instructions for How to Make Ginger Bourbon Apple Butter as though excised from a Wooster & Jeeves episode. You don't find that sort of thing just anywhere, y'know.
Edited by: David N. Pyles, (email@example.com)
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Felix Willikonsky for Flix Agency
Julien Paquin for Paquin Entertainment
Katrin Wipper for Flix Agency
firstname.lastname@example.org © Rosie Michael Rosenthal The Sunparlour Players
|The Living Proof|