ContempoRetro: New @Parralox in generous “Subculture”

PARRALOX, Subculture

You can never knock a Parralox album for being anything less than a high quality venture from Australian producer/vocalist/synthmaster and all round nice guy John von Ahlen.  It’s a journey through almost every possible synth sound created between the late 70’s and now, with songs that are shaped to give you major feels for parts of all of those eras – a couple of the songs sound like they were teleported in from the late 1979 disco/new wave melting pot in particular!  Subculture, Parralox’s 10th long-player and also the title of one of my very favourite New Order songs 🙂 is the sum of all of its parts and more featuring vocals by John and several friends/guests.  

Out of 14 generous tracks, the opener “Paradise” features the acclaimed Marcella Detroit, most noted as one half of Shakespear’s Sister but with a storied career before that as songwriter and session singer.  John’s rich production is the perfect match for a crisp and savvy vocal by Marcella which brings out the heartache in the song.  Equally ear-catching but on a totally different bent is “Last Man Standing” featuring fellow Aussie Peter Wilson, which has a 70’s pop radio flavour to contrast its driving beat.  “A Question Of Love” makes an unofficial trilogy from the Depeche Mode songs “A Question Of Lust” and “A Question Of Time”, one of the darker more brooding songs in Subculture featuring a lovely vocal by Louise Love.  

Elsewhere on the album you’ll hear Human League bassist Ian Burden (especially on “Overdrive”), and vocals by Johanna Gervin and Lillia, plus two redone Parralox songs, “Rocket Science II” and “Voyager II”.  One of the best songs also is all John on “Change Of Heart”.  Subculture is as much disco as it is mid-80’s post-new wave electronicas as it is contemporary house music.

Always bold and adventurous and as contemporary as retro, John von Ahlen and Parralox’s Subculture is a feast for the ears, the heart and your dancing shoes.  Hear it all at the link above and buy it at your favourite online music store.

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