Parallels XII

The least glamorous thing about Parallels remains the fact that their sophomore LP, XII, was recorded, mastered and released by vocalist Holly's father, Stampeders guitarist Rich Dodson. A former pop singer, Dodson formed Parallels with ex-Crystal Castles drummer Cameron Findlay, creating a Goldfrapp-esque image appropriately accented by her wispy vocals and the glimmering synth-beats. On XII, Dodson is joined by brother Nick on drums (replacing Findlay), while taking a larger role in not just the songwriting, but production as well. Over a dozen star-making bangers, Dodson plays the electro-goddess role flawlessly on both wax and paper, and on songs like the revved-up space disco of "Ritual Dancer" and the dated Hi-NRG of "Love & Devotion," it's apparent that Dodson is a proficient student of dance music's rich and varied history. But it's this same, bookish approach that makes so much of XII come off so erudite, starchy and devoid of diva-sized fun. (Marigold)