Entanglements

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
On their first two albums, Parenthetical Girls played fey indie rock with orchestral ambitions, but on Entanglements they flip that formula, moving into almost entirely orchestral pop territory that only nods vaguely in the direction of any rock conventions. Having secured a stable lineup for the first time shortly before recording these songs, Parenthetical Girls use that stability to make some of their most high-flying, whimsical music. Entanglements's excursions call to mind the Decemberists' hyper-literacy (the album's credits even boast footnotes), the Fiery Furnaces' elliptical storytelling and mercurial musical shifts, and the Wild Beasts' vaudeville flirtations, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
On their first two albums, Parenthetical Girls played fey indie rock with orchestral ambitions, but on Entanglements they flip that formula, moving into almost entirely orchestral pop territory that only nods vaguely in the direction of any rock conventions. Having secured a stable lineup for the first time shortly before recording these songs, Parenthetical Girls use that stability to make some of their most high-flying, whimsical music. Entanglements's excursions call to mind the Decemberists' hyper-literacy (the album's credits even boast footnotes), the Fiery Furnaces' elliptical storytelling and mercurial musical shifts, and the Wild Beasts' vaudeville flirtations, but the push-pull between arty self-consciousness and passion in these songs are Parenthetical Girls' own. The band's collaborations with over 15 classically trained musicians make this some of their most polished, precise work; every note and flourish counts, and the songs' crisp edges only render them more striking. Everything is stylized in the extreme, and moods swing from mischievous to romantic to disturbing and back again with dizzying swiftness. "Avenue of Trees" swoons and cavorts like the soundtrack to a psychedelic Busby Berkeley musical; "Unmentionables" takes a detour into wittily ribald ragtime; and "A Song for Ellie Greenwich" tops its cockeyed chamber pop with chopped-up percussion and Zac Pennington's spine-tingling falsetto. Entanglements's arrangements shine on the harpsichord and brass-laden "Young Eucharists" and on the inspired cover of "The Windmills of Your Mind," where slippery strings keep the song's melody and paranoid tumble of words spiraling. The album's imagery is just as rarefied as its sounds are; "Entanglement" -- which seems like it escaped from a madcap silent movie score -- alludes to a Kafka quote. Pennington's own words mirror their elaborate surroundings, using internal rhyme and assonance to turn them into witty and often poetic riddles. On "Abandoning," he stretches "surname" from one line to "sir, her name" on the next; elsewhere, lyrics like "This Regrettable End"'s "Could those strings swell again/lest mine eyes well instead?" are self-referential and genuine at the same time. As dazzling as Entanglements can be, its polish and uniqueness makes it more polarizing than anything Parenthetical Girls have done before. At its best, though, it's such a strangely thrilling album that longtime Parenthetical Girls fans and newcomers alike will find it equally intriguing and rewarding.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/9/2008
  • Label: Tomlab
  • UPC: 656605672014
  • Catalog Number: 56720
  • Sales rank: 267,488

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Parenthetical Girls Primary Artist
Lori Goldston Cello
J. Michael Walker Trombone
Stephen Lohrentz Trumpet
Jherek Bischoff Banjo, Trombone, Violin, Accordion, Ukulele, Vocals, Bottle, Double Bass, Group Member
Nelson Bell Trombone, Tuba
Zac Pennington Vocals, Group Member
Jeff Walker Trombone
Paris Hurley Violin
Ki Johnsen Cello
Sam Mickens Vocals, Group Member
Stephen Lohrentz Trumpet
Samantha Boshnack Trumpet
Rachael Jensen Violin, Keyboards, Vocals
Paul Kikuchi Percussion
Mayumia Heider Vocals
Matt Carlson Synthesizer, Percussion, Piano, Accordion, Glockenspiel, Electric Guitar, Harpsichord, Marimbas, Kantele, Vibes, fender rhodes, Prepared Piano
Jonathan Sielaff Clarinet, Alto Clarinet
Izaak Mills Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone
Eddy Crichton Percussion
Beth Fleenor Clarinet, Bass Clarinet
Alex Guy Violin, Viola
Monica Schley Harp
Morgan Henderson Clarinet
Nick Tamburro Percussion
Technical Credits
Ed Brooks Mastering
Jherek Bischoff Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Audio Production
Parenthetical Girls Composer, Audio Production
Zac Pennington Composer, Lyricist
Corianton Hale Art Direction
Sam Mickens Arranger
Sam Weber Illustrations
Matt Carlson Arranger
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