Review: We Are Parasols Advance with ‘Inertia’

13 has always been a very lucky number for me, holding true to form with my exploration of the lush yet industrial soundscape of the 13 tracks of We Are Parasol’s latest offering, Inertia, their first full-length offering since last year’s debut, Infrastructure, reviewed here earlier. Inertia shows great strides forward with depth in sound and production, not indicated by the dictionary meaning of the actual title, which is defined as inactivity on one hand, but also can allude to “a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” This collection is far from being negatively inertial, though. Infrastructure serves as the structural guide that they built upon for this release. These 13 tracks are fully realized, with Jeremy Wilkins, D, and drummer Alec Eye contributing to all tracks, equally, a new situation for the band.

The 13 tracks lace together very well, and they’re full of wonderful sounds at every turn. Jeremy describes this as a “concept” album, born of the dark times we currently find ourselves, yet full of hope that sanity can prevail. Despite the industrial touches, the music is lush and lilting, forming a seamless soundscape that takes the listener on a gliding path. Wilkins’ deft, multi-instrumental performance is a real joy to listen to, made all the more listenable by the wonderful vocal work of D, an artist that is as much at home sounding like Liz Fraser as she is Annie Lennox, depending on the song, “bloodvoice (a violent choir)” exemplifying the former and “recoil” the latter.

D and Alec Eye add the backbone with bass and drums, respectively, while Wilkins does his magic on guitars, piano, synthesizers, programming, and samples. Jeremy explains, “Inertia combines industrial, shoegaze, pop, darkwave, and sci-fi to tell a dystopian, possibly humanist, probably anti-human, story about violence, technology, politics, control, and an android feminist anti-hero known only as a synthetic sexual tasked android body.”

This sounds ambitious, but the offering really delivers with 13 sonic gems that slip into one’s ears like honey slides down the tongue. With influences of Bloody Knives, Cocteau Twins, Curve, Depeche Mode, Gazelle Twin, Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, and Wire, there is something here for many musical tastes. I want to stress, though, that these influences are taken to their next steps with this album, which ends up being a unique voice in Portland’s, or the world-at-large’s, music scene.

The collection drops on the 15th of September, and I heartily recommend it. The album’s first single/video, “dim” is currently available and there will be a record release show at The Secret Society on Sept 17th in PDX with The Secret Light. This Inertia will really move you, I predict! Pick it up on BandCamp and iTunes. You won’t be disappointed!

(Listen to Inertia below via Bandcamp and get more info about We Are Parasols HERE.)