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Friday, November 18, 2016

The Parachute Club - s/t

Name: (the) Parachute Club|
Album: s/t
Year: 1983
Style: Lite Pop, Caribbean, Reggae
Similar Bands: Toyah, Debbie Harry, Belle Stars
One Word Review: Deconstructed Antiseptic Jazz Wave 
Based Out Of: Toronto, Canada
Label(s): Current, RCA
 Parachute Club: Cover, Slip Cover, Record
Parachute Club: Back, Lyrics, Record
Paracute Club - S/T (1983)
  1. Rise Up 5:10
  2. Slip Away 4:36
  3. Alienation 3:48
  4. Are You Hungry 5:07
  5. Free Up Yourself 3:41/
  6. Boys Club 3:32
  7. Hot Pursuit 5:09
  8. She Tell You 5:05
  9. Tobago Style 5:41
Album Rating (1-10): 5.0

Members & Other Bands:
Lorraine Segato - Vox, Guitar, Percussion, Mixing (Mama Quilla II, V, Dance Appeal, Northern Lights, Lillian Allen, Ramm)
Lauri Conger - Keys, Vox (Mama Quilla II, Heather Bishop)
Billy Bryans - Drums, Percussion, Mixing (Downchild Blues Band, V, Time Twins, Lillian Allen)
Margo Davidson - Sax, Percussion, Vox (Foxrun Band)
Julie Masi - Percussion, Sax, Timbales Vox (Martha & Muffins, Rita MacNeil)
Steve Webster - Bass (Billy Idol, Heads in the Sky, Dalbello, )
Dave Gray - Guitar (Lillian Allen)
Daniel Lanois - Producer, Engineer, Mixing
Lynne Fernie - Lyrics
Debbie Griffiths - Vox (Martha & Muffins)
Mohjah - Percussion
Tim Forbes - Art Direction, Artwork
Deborah Samuel - Art Direction, Artwork
Gerry Young - Management
Bill Kaye - Makeup
Dick Smith - Percussion

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of them. But from the font, artworks and band picture it looks like they will be a soft-yet-quirky 80's band that might be a little bouncy, but most likely, will be adult-contemporary new wave music. 

Album Review: The Parachute Club was pretty big in Canada for the mid 80's, spawning 3 top 40 hits, and voted "most likely to succeed" at the 1984 Canadian Juno awards (also taking best single with "Rise Up"). 1988 saw them battle and settle out of court against McCain Foods Limited for using the song in an ad. In 2006, they were entered into Canadaian Indies Hall of Fame. Two years later, founding member Margo passed away.

“Rise Up” was their most popular song, and single winning them single and most promising group of 1984. Later, the song sparked controversy as it was used against the band’s wishes in a self-rising pizza dough commercial. From the start it has a world, Caribbean bongo beat, and jazzy synth 8-bit notes. The chorus of Rise Up starts off the lyrics, and the song feels like a spiritual hymn. The synth notes swirl around and accent the gospel feel, and reach some cheesy levels. The vocals are empowered and excited.
“Slip Away” has a bit of a reggae vibe with steel drums, but incorporates dreamy guitar and sleepy vocals. It is a good example of blending Caribbean music with antiseptic new wave. The song skitters along, with bongo flourishes and dual female lead vocals that fluidly take turns and overlap each other.
“Alienation” starts with some gritty guitar and sax, reminding me a little of mid 80’s period Oingo Boingo. The song contains political statements, and the vocals are emotional. There is no cohesive melody to the song, however, just a bunch of sounds, rattlings, crashes and other ideas thrown together.
“Are You Hungry” begins with a bit of a light ska vibe with a rhythmic deep bass. But the chime-synth sounds like the same effect used in Goonies. The vocals are bold and echoing, and there is a free-form feeling to the construction of the song. Toward the middle of the song, there are some deep masculine chanting vocals layered below.
“Free Up Yourself” fades in suddenly to a marching tempo, accented with weaving synth lines. The layers of female vocals share the stage and echo on repeat for an artificial chorus. It even has a little of a deconstructed disco sound.

“Boys Club” has a bit of a Debbie Harry attitude at the outset. The song is a little dark, and it carries an attitude of suppression due to anti-feminism. There is a “Military Rap” section to the song, too.
“Hot Pursuit” slinks back to a smooth, reflective, jazzy style. The vocals are deep, and sound a little like Chrissie Hynde.
“She Tell You” has a dark, futuristic feel to it with wood block percussion and deep grueling guitars. Of course, no song escapes this period without the cheesy synth, so the Goonies effect lightens the mood. The overall tone of the song shifts to a shuffling, indecisive yet uplifting track.
“Tobago Style” starts out with a couple of echoing laughs, and the song feels like it could evolve into a good post-punk no-wave song. But the synth comes in, and the song is quartered into multiple directions and loses cohesion.

The album has a lot of good potential. Good effects, solid vocals, interesting beats, but it really lacks an overall vision, is soft on hooks and repetitive, catchy choruses, and it is hard to pin down a melody that follows through.

Stand Out Track: Alienation


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