The Secret Love Parade - Mary Looking Ready

It’s very girly stuff, lots of dreamy songs… falling in love on New Year’s Eve, songs called After School…  but the arrangements and sense of touch are tremendous; it’s difficult to listen to this and feel you’re being conned or having to excuse the band any failings or dishonesty

 

 

http://www.snowstar.nl

 

I can’t think of a better underground pop record this year. OK the year is about 8 weeks old, but that’s pop for you, here today gone tomorrow…  Sorry: this is all sounding a bit flippant, so let me re-order my thoughts. Let me say that I really didn’t think that this band could pull something as powerful as this out. I like The Secret Love Parade and I always have, but their charm was always their main selling point – sometimes at the expense of their music and Mary Looking Ready though charming is also, by virtue of its content, verging on a truly top release.

 

It’s very girly stuff, lots of dreamy songs… falling in love on New Year’s Eve, songs called After School…  but the arrangements and sense of touch are tremendous; it’s difficult to listen to this and feel you’re being conned or having to excuse the band any failings or dishonesty. The measured tone – and the cracked, fragile sometimes uncertain delivery of the vocals, the lightness of touch in the instrumentation, the very simplicity of it all - handclaps, daft synths, daft songs about Victorians - just pulls you through each time. They have some heart breaking melodies too – tracks like Plastic in Plastic and Mary Looking Ready are reminiscent of the bitter sweet teen romances that Brian Wilson could conjure up.  There’s something so artless about the record; even when you would normally reach for the sick bag you just have to hand it to the band… After School is a mix of weepy teenage angst coupled with a synth noise straight from Withnail and I and what about this couplet from Sugar Party? “Seems like they’re having fun /food and drinks for everyone” - a marvellously wide-eyed lyric that offsets the über jauntiness of the music.  Best is saved for last, Limbo and the title track are absolute pop winners, and bitter-coating the dumb stuff like few others.

 

Great stuff.