The last time I went to a parade, I fucking hated it. I mean, let’s face it, parades fucking suck. If there were personal Hell’s being devised, mine would just be an endlessly long line of floats and twirling acrobats and the Mayor and shit. God, it would be despicably awful. I would probably go insane.
However, as of last month, the word ‘Parade’ found itself with a saving grace in the form of a post-rock band from Melbourne deciding that the word shouldn’t be associated with the shit sandwich that is a normal parade. Admittedly, Parading (the band) have been around a lot longer than ‘last month-ish’, but their record ‘Swallowing a Sunflower’ came out then, and its my duty to ensure that the small fraction of the internet that stumbles upon this website know that the word parading shouldn’t be immediately tied down and owned by egotistical twats that want to shut down streets in honour of some bullshit made up shenanigans.
First up, it should be said that Parading are unique as fuck. Their sound is like the post-punk of the 80’s accidentally got caught in a The Fly sort of contraption with British shoegaze, and has been living in a dark corner of their basement ever since. 2011 was the first time this creature ever stepped into the realm outside of darkness, and ever since its been getting appraised because its a fucking awesome combination of all things awesome.
But enough of my terrible comparisons, and onto the record itself. There isn’t a bad song on here, not a single one. It doesn’t seem possible, but tear-stained rock doesn’t get boring with Parading. It just drones on and on with total, unkempt beauty, droning away with unparalleled greatness. There’s that dolewave vibe coming through a bit on the songs, similar to The Ocean Party, but the loudness of the tracks, and the weird, bent vibes of the guitars and bass ensure that your brain is jailed by the music.
‘Swallowing a Sunflower’ is an apt name for the record, as the songs are kind of adding a black, gothic nature to really beautiful topics. ‘Country Song’ plods along with an acoustic guitar on one hand, just being all dainty and shit, but the undercurrent of echoing adds a dismal damper to it that elevates the track to having a fuck-tonne of tension. Same goes with ‘Dreaming About Killing’, a beautiful melody that’s sliced and diced with an overload of fuzz and morally decrepit lyric. Even the cover of ‘Factory’, originally by Bruce Springsteen, holds a little menace to it, and that song is about as stunning as they come.
Overall, Parading have not only evaporated all the negative connotations attached the word parading, but have created one hell of an album whilst doing it. Their marrying of the powerful, wicked and gorgeous into one three course meal of amazing is sustained throughout their entire record and for that, we, the music loving public of the globe, thank you. At the very least, the Reid brothers from The Jesus and Mary Chain are quaking in their boots that a couple of blokes from Australia are playing their game better than they are.
You can grab ‘Swallowing a Sunflower’ from Birds Love Fighting, the label operated by the band. Whilst you’re there, check out a bunch of the other killer records on there, from the likes of The Ocean Party and Heirophants.