Parlour Steps

Ambiguoso

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

In some cases, quirky artists have also been flat-out goofy artists. Bands ranging from the Ramones to the B-52's to Buttsteak to Freezepop have been shining examples of absurdist humor carried to a delightfully fun extreme. But quirkiness isn't necessarily synonymous with goofiness, and on Parlour Steps' Ambiguoso, one hears a quirky and somewhat humorous band that is also an introspective band. This Vancouver, Canada-based alternative pop/rock/indie rock unit definitely has a sense of humor, but the humor that one finds on melodic, artsy tracks such as "Gargoyles Passion," "Hot Romance," "A Pagan and a Cook," and "Thieves of Memory" isn't the wacky humor of the Dickies' "You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)" or Buttsteak's "Felt Up by a Mormon." Rather, Parlour Steps' humor is dry and subtle; it is humor that doesn't jump right out at you, but is present nonetheless -- and not one of the songs on this late 2006/early 2007 recording could honestly be described as laughs for the sake of laughs. Ultimately, Parlour Steps' lyrics are serious-minded, pensive, and contemplative; this is deep-thinking music, and Parlour Steps' blend of quirkiness and serious-mindedness comes through both musically and lyrically. Someone who listened to this 49-minute CD without understanding a word of English or having access to a translation of the lyrics would still get the impression that these Canadians, despite their quirkiness, were very analytical and reflective. That non-English-speaking person would be swept in by the band's attractive sound and their frequent male vocals/female vocals interaction, and he would likely assume that Parlour Steps had a lot more going on lyrically than a desire for some fun. Ambiguoso is a memorable, nicely crafted outing from this Canadian outfit.

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