Parenthetical Girls

tom120 - Cover Artwork
tom120 - Cover Artwork

Parenthetical Girls


Released 09/09/2008

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"His legs gave way like pages from a pop-up book…"

Portand, Oregon’s  Parenthetical Girls have traded in their small-screen sincerity for a bold and blustering Technicolour – a lush, longing and lusty celluloid schmaltz they call Entanglements.

An orchestral song-cycle of grand sonic ambition, Entanglements is an eleven-song, linear narrative of ascendancy, adolescent sexuality, quantum mechanics, consent and other moral ambiguities - all set to an elaborately orchestrated olio of Modern Classical and timeworn, traditional American pop forms.

Borrowing string-swept sentimentality from the likes of Van Dyke Parks, Scott Walker, Jack Nitzsche, and Burt Bacharach, Entanglements draws colourful lines across the expanse between these orchestral pop antiquities and the more formidable strains of modern classical composers – its hues distantly reminiscent of names like Krzystof Penderecki, Philip Glass, and Gavin Bryars. 

Drafted in fits and starts over the course of the last three years, the seeds for Entanglements were initially conceived by Parenthetical Girls founder, Zac Pennington as a conceptual/orchestral follow-up to (((GRRRLS))), the band’s self-released debut. 

When the task proved too daunting for Pennington alone, the project was abandoned in favour of a more sonically direct approach; a tact that would eventually produce the band’s critically acclaimed sophomore record, 2006’s Safe As Houses.

Following years of fluctuating ranks, Pennington at last drafted what was to become a permanent line-up, multi-instrumentalists Matt Carlson, Eddy Crichton, and Rachael Jensen, along with constant studio collaborator, Jherek Bischoff (The Dead Science, Ribbons). Aided immeasurably by Carlson’s classically trained hand, the group set about eschewing Indie Rock’s propensity for orchestral dabbling by forgoing the “Rock” almost completely. As a result, Entanglements is foremost a modern Orchestral Pop record - its motifs dissected and appropriated from a century's worth of sources, and reconfigured anew into something altogether different.

Recorded between Seattle, WA and Portland, OR over the course of two strenuous months, the Entanglements sessions gathered upwards of fifteen classically trained/experimental musicians to realize the songs’ dense and dramatic arrangements, as laid to paper by both

Carlson and long-time (((GRRRLS))) producer/engineer Bischoff (with additional assistance from Dead Science frontman Sam Mickens).

The lavish orchestral sprawl is matched only in the album’s ornately disconcerting narrative, all crooned and cooed in Pennington’s liltingly familiar falsetto. The result is uncannily ageless, sensually unsettling, and above all else, extraordinarily ambitious.

This is the spooky action at a distance. And these are Entanglements.

Warum die dritte LP der Parenthetical Girls ein Geschenk des Himmels ist? Weil hier das Spiel mit Uneindeutigkeiten und Kapriziösem einmal nicht nur behauptet wird, sondern alles durchfließt, was die Band aus Portland, Oregon tut...

  1. Four Words
  2. Avenue of Trees
  3. Unmentionables
  4. Gut Symmetries
  5. Song For Ellie Greenwich
  6. Young Eucharists
  7. Entanglement
  8. Abandoning
  9. The Former
  10. Windmills of Your Mind
  11. This Regrettable End