Articles tagged with Parkas

The Parkas’ last hurrah

Parkas - You Should Have Killed Us When You Had the Chance
Clearly, the Parkas are followers of Neil Young‘s maxim that it’s better to burn out than to fade away. Despite breaking up this fall, the long-running Toronto outfit chose to release one final album, the aptly-titled You Should Have Killed Us When You Had the Chance. Of course, this strategy makes no fiscal sense, since these days it’s next to impossible to make money from record sales; what’s more, without a tour to promote the album, it’s unlikely to reach much of an audience outside of the Parkas’ existing fanbase. Still, there’s something noble about a band releasing one last album in the face of financial loss and inevitable obscurity.

In keeping with its defiant title, You Should Have Killed Us When You Had the Chance delivers muscly rock ‘n’ roll, sounding like the work of the quintessential bar band. This is best captured by the thundering “Isolation Pay,” which sounds a bit like Mick Jagger fronting in the E Street Band. On “Muscle Memory,” a heavy groove provides the backdrop for organ and slide guitars flourishes, evoking any number of bluesy classic rockers.

Despite the band’s gritty sound, there’s also an undercurrent of sadness running through the album, most notably in singer Michael Brown’s slurred drawl—check out his echoed emoting on “The Gang’s All Gone.” This melancholy comes to the surface on the album’s ballads, which are unexpected forays away from the Parkas’ usual hard rock sound. “Bad Comedian” strips away the distortion in favour of a bossa nova-infused groove, its bleak tale of alienation building up to a refrain of “I finally got the joke / Was on me all along.” Even more affecting is “Lie to Me,” an ultra-lo-fi recording consisting of little more than buzzing feedback, a chiming electric guitar and the lyric “And I / Can’t lie / To you anymore” repeated over and over. Halfway through, it stars playing in reverse, before switching back for the final minute. The fact that it sounds nothing like the rest of the album only increases its emotional impact.

MP3: “The Gang’s All Gone”

The album doesn’t contain an obvious single, and it’s unlikely to provide the commercial breakthrough that might encourage the band to reunite. Still, it’s a solid slice of old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll, and a worthy last hurrah for the Parkas.

You Should Have Killed Us When You Had the Chance is out now via Saved by Radio.
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