Visionaries by Parallels (Marigold/E1)

Parallels is the duo of former Crystal Castles drummer Cameron Findlay and singer Holly Dodson. On their debut Visionaries, they craft electro-pop with live drums and plenty of bouncy keyboards. Dodson’s vocals are measured and pretty and the arrangements sound like a pleasantly hazy night of dancing to an 80’s new wave jukebox.

The album starts out with the hot and sexy groove of Find the Fire that will get your hips moving. Ultralight is all strident House sequences, augmented by energetic drumming and Dodson’s disco deva vocals loud and strong.

Dry Blood opens with powerful drums and vibrant keyboards, vocodered vocals purr and moan building to a dramatic climax. City of Stars begins slowly, slowly building, adding drums and keyboard loops, Dodson purring “Into these skies, celestial skies the chariots fall, the lovers cry,” accompanied by dreamlike backing vocals, the angelic sounds rise and rise until you’re floating in the clouds.

The fast drums on Counterparts raise your heart rate as Dodson sings of true love; she’s finally able to let her voice run wild and its a wonderful feeling. There’s a perfect moment in the middle of Vienna where the majestic synths swoop up and carry Dodson’s voice into the stars.  Dodson shines once again on Midnight Voices as she sings of darkness ending, the aggressively wound up loops drop out and synth “aahs” break the darkness, Dodson singing with emotion and power.

Visionaries closes with All We’ll Ever Know.  A sense of mystery builds with the sounds of waves crashing, creeping synths draw around like sheets rattling in the wind, a tribal drum pattern pounding away. Dodson moans the song title like a mantra as the music pours over our ears and ends with a wave crash. Then silence.

On Visionaries, Parallels are at their best when creating mysterious and lovely music out of Findlay’s 80’s analog keyboards, drums and Dodson’s sweet and powerful vocals.

(Review by Bret Miller)

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