Parade by Jomberfox is an excellent album that combines many different genres and ideas and fuses them into a twang-y singer/songwriter view.
“John Cage” opens the album with large reverbed guitars a la Pink Floyd before moving to a more roots-y Ryan Adams type of feel. There is some excellent drumming throughout underneath twang-y guitars and a vocal that moves from a calm delivery to an excited yell. “Ordinary World” channels a Bono-like vocal delivery over a start-stop band with syncopated accents. It’s a lot going on at once, but after the initial verse it is easier to adjust to and appreciate.
The song has a nice build to the conclusion combining slide guitars and backing vocals that stack up before devolving into a trippy shadow of what was just heard. “Passenger” is driven by electric piano and a scream-like slide guitar. The song has a lot of merit, but is a bit obscured by a rhythm guitar taking center stage during the chorus and losing some of the build that is being churned out by the vocals. Still, there are good performances in there and the song structure is sound.
The best song on the album is “Dial It Down,” which starts out fairly mellow before moving into a smart pseudo ballad. The percussion is one of the stars, acting more as sound design to complement the lyrics before moving into a driving chorus. The lyrics are smart and the melody is extremely catchy and moving, excellent material for TV or movie licensing.
“The War On Weights & Measurements” is a twang-y tango with traces of Rufus Wainwright and Andrew Bird infused in the melody and vocal delivery. Carnival organs out of a Ray Bradbury novel play against high-pitched wails that could be musical saws or controlled feedback. It’s an interesting texture to build around, and executed well. “The Good Side” is driven by a brushed snare drum under a lap-steel guitar with some faint mandolin flourishes here and there. The texture throughout the song is very open which is a nice contrast from the rest of the album and makes for an interesting listen. The song is mellow and well supported throughout.
“Green Eyes” moves from a cascade of chime-y guitars that beautifully wash over a Bob Welch-esque pop song. The ticking of the hi hat makes for a nice addition to the verse and highlights one of the band’s skills at switching up the instrumentation slightly on each section making for a consistently interesting listen. “The Captain” has a bluesy bar band feel to it. Again, the drums have some fantastic highlights throughout with pressed rolls and flourishes. The organ has an epic feel to it that moves it away from the bar band and more into a trippy “She’s So Heavy” spot.
The album closes with a reprise of the first song, “John Cage” though in a much more stripped down version over acoustic guitar, banjo, dissonant keyboards and reverbed drum hits. It’s a risky move to pull off two mixes of the same song on the same album, but Jomberfox pulls it off well, giving more weight and attention to the lyrics which play out quite sadly against sounds of rain in the background, leaving the listener with perhaps as many questions if not more than the lyrics were wondering about, but with a satisfied resolution.
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