The history of Parenthetical Girls' debut release is long and complicated. The duo that comprises the band, Zac Pennington and Jeremy Cooper, began recording it in 2002. When it was released in 2004, it was only as a vinyl LP. One LP side, the "O" version of the album, included mixes of the seven songs by Jherek Bischoff; the other LP side, the "X" version, presented mixes of the same seven songs by Jamie Stewart. In 2006, the CD version presented the Bischoff "O" mix, as well as MP3 files of all the songs in the "X" mix and an MP3 of one new track ("Inspirational Shortpants [Avec Paroles]") not on the original LP release. As for the "O" version of the seven songs on the principal part of the CD (lasting only about 23 minutes), it's naïve, sporadically winsome indie pop, sung with a diffident guilelessness. The production gives it an artsy clamor, voices blurring, echoing, and overlapping into each other. The frequent use of glockenspiel adds a childlike quality, and some electronic effects and manipulation give it a noisy, busy postmodern sheen, as well as some quasi-orchestral passages. Dare it be said that it doesn't seem quite worth the trouble of two mixes, two releases, and a two-almost-identical-EPs-in-one-disc format? And for all the multiple versions of most of the songs, couldn't all 15 of the tracks have just been placed on one standard CD, instead of separated into a portion that will play on your CD player and another that you can only hear by putting into your computer?
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger