Monday, January 24, 2011

Don't be afraid of Parade

Are you clamouring for an all-new girl band this year? No? Well, tough, because the record industry has decided that you are.

We've already heard from The Ultra Girls (endorsed by Kylie) and SoundGirl (Mis-Teeq 2.0). The US is giving us Bellevoxx (Lily Allen covered by the cast of Gossip Girl) and former cheerleaders Beach Girl5, who incorporate cheers into their music to genuinely terrifying effect.

Waiting in the traps are Parade, a quintet aimed squarely at The Saturdays' core audience. It's hard to get excited about a band as reductive and formulaic as this: Their sound rips off All Saints, their video rips off Wannabe.

I can't imagine anyone went into the studio with the mission statement: "Take the music of any moderately successful girl band of the last two decades, add nothing, shoot video, release, reap untold rewards." But that is apparently what has happened.

To be fair, Parade's song - Louder - isn't all bad. The chorus has a certain hands-in-the-air joie de vivre, and the frantic cowbell breakdown in the middle 8 is a welcome surprise.

What sinks the whole enterprise is the unintended irony of the second verse.

The song is about asking a DJ to turn the music up, because music always sounds better when it makes your diaphragm spasm involuntarily. Then, amidst the derivative 1990s R&B-lite production, Emily Biggs (who you might recognise from 2007 X Factor finalists Hope) sings, "Just imagine us now, with a little more power, we'll be thundering". And that is exactly what's wrong. If only someone had kicked this song right in the knackers, it could have been amazing.

Parade - Louder

Parade are currently on tour with Alexandra Burke (make of that what you will). Their official website hides in this corner of the internet.

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