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article by: Michael Canter

23 June 2012

CD Review - Journey Through The Shadows by The Parlotones

"Journey Through The Shadows will sweep you up; it’s hard not to dance, tap your feet, or just find some way to move to its twelve tracks. The album is not quite alternative rock, not quite Brit pop, but something unique to this powerhouse group from Johannesburg—and it’s high time that magic mix moves stateside. There’s always a place for excellent arena rock, and The Parlotones are a
perfect fit."

~The Owl Mag

Release Date: 08-May-2012
Genre: Melodic Rock / Alternative / Power Pop
Publisher: [c] 2012 Sovereign Entertainment
Label: Sovereign Entertainment
Time: 38m 50s
Review Date: 23-June-2012
Format: AAC (iTunes)
Bit Rate: 256 kbps 
Jivewired Press Kit: Not currently a Jivewired member 

Get it at:

Artist Website | iTunes | Amazon

Track Listing:

01. Freakshow 1:34
02. Soul & Body 3:18
03. Brave & Wild 3:19
04. Save Your Bets 3:00
05. Goodbyes 4:02
06. Sweet Like A Stolen Kiss 3:51
07. Honey 3:39
08. We Just Wanna Be Loved 2:50
09. Down By The Lake 2:58
10. I Am Alive 4:00
11. Sing You To Sleep 2:56
12. Suitcase For A Home 3:26


Imagine it's the mid-1990s, and you were out seeing a Coldplay show at a local pub, before they've made it big, when they were just local gigging and deadheading across the country trying to build a following, and after the show, the band agreed to have a drink with you and talk music.  You knew in your heart that the guys you were keeping company with were about to launch into the stratosphere, but at that moment they were just four regular, incredibly cool cats from another country working the local circuit.

I had that moment with The Parlotones earlier this month in Chicago, first at the studio taping of an episode of JBTV, and then later that evening at Schubas on Southport.  First and foremost, I have to thank Jerry Bryant for the opportunity to even meet Kahn Morbee, Paul Hodgson, Glenn Hodgson and Neil Pauw, but I also have to thank Kahn and Paul for adding me to the guest list for their show at Schubas.  That's what is so cool about The Parlotones:  they are going to be huge here in the United States -- that's inevitable -- but the band is so laid back and incredibly accessible, I felt as if we had been lifelong buddies. 

Oddly enough - The Parlotones have had huge success everywhere but America.  In fact, the Johannesburg, South Africa quartet has garnered a large fan base at home, as well as selling out large arenas throughout England and Germany.  Here in the United States, they are still establishing themselves, this album is their fifth, and have gone from touring South Africa with Coldplay to traversing the states in a road-weary van, a humbling reality check on the path toward superstardom to say the least.  Nevertheless, a conquering of Western Civilization is close at hand.  This is their fourth trip here, and the band hopes to call Los Angeles home starting in 2013, a huge step that for most bands would be somewhat risky.  Their U.S. experiences formulated the foundation of Journey Through The Shadows, and the strength of this album combined with those experiences makes such a bold leap much less of a gamble.

The Parlotones are riding the crest of industry buzz.  Time spent touring this country and playing alongside Coldplay has given Journey Through The Shadows a sleek and anthemic feel.  The Parlotones produce an awful big sound; powerful, richly textured songs that are incredibly melodic. The best examples of the signature Parlotones sound are five killer tracks --  Brave & Wild, Goodbyes, We Just Wanna Be Loved, Soul & Body and Honey.  These songs were written with one goal in mind -- to be played loud and live before large audiences. 

But Journey Through The Shadows is not just one loud, bombastic power pop blast after another.  What makes the album so wonderful is a myriad of textures and emotive pace changes that keep the LP centered.  Sing You To Sleep exemplifies those variant textures in smoldering furor, delineating their best efforts into one song that is equal parts ballad and anthemic pop. And, whereas Bono and U2's dabbling into Americana on Rattle & Hum seemed somewhat forced and contrived, Kahn Morbee and the Parlotones seem more at ease and natural within that genre.  A perfect example is Suitcase For A Home, arguably the best song on the album, which leans on a magnificent slide guitar and roots melody combined with the band's signature power sound that is pure, soaring adrenaline.   Further examples of that genre amalgamation include Down By The Lake and, mentioned previously, Soul & BodyFreakshow, an harmonic a capella that kicks off the album is so Folk and Americana it rivals Alison Krauss' Down To The River To Pray.

The foundation and basis of the entire album is Kahn Morbee's vocals.  Equal parts Bono and Chris Martin but with a style all his own, in live performances Morbee commands attention from the moment he steps on stage. His is a driving, layered falsetto and it is that upper register where Morbee really nails it.  His lyrical salvos reside and radiate from soul and heart in effortless, often breathtaking fashion.  The rest of the band, Paul, Glenn and Neil, are right there step for step, and the arrangements and production are first rate, particularly on Goodbyes, a song that showcases and melds the collective talents of each band member into one, astounding Parlotones dynamic.

With Journey Through The Shadows, the Parlotones have crafted an album of innocently upbeat tunes with a measure of darker undertones here and there.  There's a palpable message, however, that no matter what, the best is still ahead, a sentiment that echoes from album concept to real life for this band.  The album is an exercise in hope and a defining transition from just-on-the-cusp notoriety to over-the-top mainstream success, and serves as the vehicle to get the band from one point to the other.  If you haven't heard of the Parlotones yet, that's okay.  They're here to stay, and welcome you to give them the opportunity to love this band as they are loved elsewhere in the world.  Journey Through The Shadows is an excellent way for you to engage in that budding relationship.

About The Parlotones:

It has been 10 years since The Parlotones ventured out of drummer Neil's fathers garage and onto hundreds of stages across the world. The Parlotones have shared an extraordinary journey over the last decade and are looking forward to sharing this journey with their fans when they present "This Is Our Story" an intimate evening of songs and inspirations - live at The Teatro at Montecasino on the 3rd and 4th August. 

2012 certainly looks like the end of the world as The Parlotones know it. The year kicked off with an impressive start when they climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for UNWomen, raised R600 000.00 with one of Neil's paintings in the fight against Rhino poaching and the release of their brand new album "Journey Through The Shadows" is heading for Gold status in the first month of release.

To add to the excitement The Parlotones have been invited by UK Super band Snow Patrol to tour with them in Europe this summer. The Parlotones have been making waves across the globe for some time but it seems that 2012 will be the year it all comes together. With the 27-city headline tour of the US in full swing, the band's first US single has managed to enter the radio charts with massive support from radio stations across the country as well as the Alternative iTunes charts in both the United States and Germany. 

The band will play their final US show on the 20th of June and head straight onto Hamburg to join Snow Patrol on a series of dates before completing the tour with their debut performances at some of the worlds biggest festivals across Europe.

The band returns to SA in late July and straight into rehearsal for their latest concert theatre production entitled "This Is Our Story".

The show will take the audience on a magical ride exploring their songs and delving into the inspirations behind them in an intimate theatre setting at the beautiful Teatro at Montecasino. 

Taking you down memory lane Kahn, Paul, Glen and Neil will offer insight on what has meant the most to them about the songs that have shaped South Africa's most successful rock band of all time. The band will share the stories behind milestones songs such as Beautiful, Here Comes the Man, Colourful, Giant Mistake, and countless others which shaped the band over the years.

To add to this great production, the show will take on an interactive role by enabling fans to communicate with the band on stage through social media and ask them the questions they would like to know the answers to.

The Parlotones have always led the way in the South African music landscape in terms of innovation and live performance. Having headlined the Coca Cola Dome, performed live at the FIFA World Cup kick off concert to hundreds of millions, and having broadcast a rock opera live in 3D across the world on multiple platforms, The Parlotones are no strangers to setting new standards in live performance.

This Is Our Story is the band's latest initiative to break new boundaries and make use of technology to create a more personal and intimate performance that will leave fans with a whole new perspective.

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