Parlor Grand is a rock band from San Francisco, CA formed in 2019 by singer/songwriter Sean Fonda. Fonda is the only main-stay member but Adam McClure (drums) and David Cooper (pedal-steel guitar) also contributed to the recent release Gray Fruit. Fonda mentions the album “is reminiscent of decades past from the pop melodies, surf rock guitar tones and psychedelia of the '60s to the guitar-driven country western/rock crossover of the '70s to the thick synth pad and gated reverbs reminiscent of '80s radio rock to '90s-era alt-country and shoegaze.”
The music is drenched in Americana influence and in particular this reminds me of other bands like The War on Drugs and Wilco that took influence from bands like Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The album really stays in that lane with some minor deviations throughout the album and reinforces it with reverb laced guitar. Classic 4/4 style beats and piano. It’s also reflective and nostalgic which are two emotions I love to hear when done well like this.
I found the songs to be easy on the ears. The textures and tones were warm and most people enjoy a good hall reverb and this album is all about that. On that note I think there were a couple of highlights such as “Defy My Heart” which drives and has some slight shoegaze similarities in the spirit of The Jesus and Mary Chain.
“Heavy Moon” was a good one. This one felt a little more cosmic in the spirit of Pink Floyd. “Just a Feather” is a killer song and that pedal-steel guitar sounds great. “(why would you) Want Me to Lie?” is a fun one, sort of in the spirit of The Rolling Stones. I kept imagining Mick Jagger dancing to this one. The closer “Junket” is close to nine minutes long. It’s an epic song and a great way to close.
I didn’t find any surprises on this album good or bad. The songs felt straightforward and were implemented with a popular rock format. Fonda certainly wears his influence on his sleeve but is able to capture his own essence through these original compositions. One big plus was how cohesive and seamless this album was from beginning to end. Suffice it to say if you enjoy one song you will probably enjoy them all.
I thought this was a good album and fans of some of the aforementioned will very likely feel the same way I did. Take a listen.
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