Parenthetical Girls Privileged (Abridged)

Parenthetical GirlsPrivileged (Abridged)
It's often said that an enormous amount of blood, sweat and tears go into the creation of things, and artists often profess to leaving pieces of themselves in their work. Parenthetical Girls have done that — literally. Privileged (Abridged) is the culmination of a two-year-long (2010 to 2012) run of a very limited number of self-released EPs hand-numbered in the Portland, OR band's own blood, gathered into a tight and focused pop record. The Zac Pennington-fronted Parenthetical Girls, whose experimental, avant-garde tendencies have always kept them teetering on the cusp of indie pop, throw themselves into their full-fledged pop sensibilities. Catchy opener "Evelyn McHale" is a good indication of the Girls' newly defined sonic direction. There's a definite embracing of a more melodically accessible sound, with Pennington's warbling whine buried in the jangly, lilting orchestration that starts off organically and then is met with small bursts of electronic zaps and whirrs. This graduation of sound can be heard throughout, with the synths carried over into the steady baseline of "Careful Who You Dance With," building into the artfully cacophonic distortion of "Young Throats" and then taken even further with'80s-tinged finale "Curtains." Hints of baroque pop sneak their way in, but it's Pennington's songwriting that strengthens and underpins the sinister nature of Privileged (Abridged). With this album, the Parenthetical Girls position themselves as pop craftsman with depth. (Slender Meets Society)