While violinist Jenny Scheinman has been a longtime contributor to drummer Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom band, Parlour Game marks the first co-billed outing between the two veteran players and bandleaders. The quartet featured here, which also includes pianist Carmen Staaf and bassist Tony Scherr, is a nimble troupe whose sparkling folk-jazz interplay and deep musical vocabulary make for an immediately pleasing listen. From the start, the band's chemistry is apparent with concise arrangements that still retain a breezy, casual air. The bulk of Parlour Game's compositions are credited to Scheinman, with two originating from Miller and the entrancing mid-album standout, "Michigan," credited to both. The overall impression, however, is that of a collective gelling of minds and aesthetics. As a melodicist, Scheinman is in her element, dancing and weaving through earthy tones and lithe runs as Staaf paints the landscape, weaving her own powerful spells. With Miller and Scheer driving the bottom end, there is a nice mix of rhythmic variance, from the rigorous skittering of the city-flavored "116th & Congress" to the pensive pop bounce of "The Right Fit" and the robust complicated patterns of "Top Shelf." The band languorously stretches out on a pair of dreamy delicate ballads in "Lead with Love" and "Sleep Rider," turning the acreage of space between notes into a silent fifth member. At their most engaging, the quartet dazzles with more up-tempo pieces like "Play Money" and "Miss Battle's Cannonball," two playful cuts that show off all their combined assets: intricate but approachable melodies, effortless chops, and a shared communal language that promotes a sense of relaxed, joyful creativity.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger