Published Jun 08, 2016There's a deep and genuine respect for the 1970s apparent on Still Parade's latest offering. That Niklas Kramer does away with the pristine production of previous release Fields here in favour of a coarser, tape recorder sound isn't to put the musical equivalent of the Instagram "Nashville" filter over something modern in an attempt to garner nostalgia; rather, it's all part of a larger aesthetic that leans closer to the bright AM pop of Todd Rundgren than the lush arrangements of chillwave contemporaries like Washed Out. It's in the soft grooves of "Walk in the Park" and the tinges of psychedelia in the phaser-heavy guitars lining "7:41," cut straight from the likes of Pink Floyd's Dark Side instrumental "Any Colour You Like," which tether Kramer's debut LP to a decade long passed.
Concrete Vision may pay homage to another era, but its shimmering keys and hypnotic vocal melodies make it a natural fit for summer 2016, capturing the essence of long, scalding days in the concrete jungle. The lo-fi guitar leads of the album's title track seem to melt away just out of earshot, and the synth mortar holding together "Everything is Going Down (Again)" evaporates like steam off a sidewalk in mid July.
There's an overwhelming lightness to Concrete Vision, even when the lyrics veer into darker territory on tracks like the rippled ballad "True Love" or the title track. The comforting timbre of Kramer's voice keeps the vibe mellow and even-keeled, a lifeline throughout the record's changing synth textures. Still Parade's debut album is a leisurely walk to a slower-paced, radio-driven '70s summer that embodies the chorus of "7:41": "There's no reason to hide, there's no reason to cry." (Heist or Hit Records)