Parenthetical Girls are a marginal pop group from Portland, Oregon. They have released a handful of records, most notably last year’s celebrated and sprawling orchestral pop opus Entanglements—a concept record so lush and beautiful that most people neglected to notice that it was about pedophilia. Their songs have been described as lascivious, unseemly, and grotesque. But their songs are also called lovely.
Over the past several years, Parenthetical Girls have developed a collective obsession with the life and works of Mr. Cutler—so much so that they decided to devote two full sides (an astonishing eleven-and-a-half minutes!) of a ten-inch LP to pay tribute to his gentle genius. Packaged in a silk-screened sleeve designed by renowned illustrator (and fellow Glaswegian) David Shrigley, this extremely limited release (500 total copies!) features Parenthetical adaptations of four songs and four prose poems from across the dense Cutler discography. These sparse, meditative recordings are a far cry from the chamber pop bombast of Parenthetical Girls’ recent output, as the group continues to skirt sonic expectations with yet another creative 180. Which means we’re back to where we started. As good a place as any for this to end, I suppose.
A Song For Ellie Greenwich is the first single from Entanglements—the third album by Parenthetical Girls—that is already available on CD & LP via Tomlab and Slender Means Society.
Now it's four years on. In that time, Parenthetical Girls have released two more critically-acclaimed full lengths (2006's Safe As Houses [Slender Means Society] and this year's Entanglements [Tomlab]), toured the US and Europe with the likes of Deerhoof, Xiu Xiu, Los Campesinos!, Evangelicals, and Casiotone For the Painfully Alone (whose album Etiquette, incidentally, features a rather lovely cover of (((GRRRLS)))' closing track "Love Connection"). We are pleased to finally present (((GRRRLS))) with the wide distribution that it deserves for the first time.
Recorded with the band's previous three-piece configuration (an ensemble made up of Pennington and Dead Science members Sam Mickens and Jherek Bischoff—a regular contributor to Xiu Xiu and Casiotone For the Painfully Alone, who also served as producer for the record), Safe As Houses embraces the group's shrewd attention to the awkward confluence of experimental and pop musics—creating a record that is at once more difficult and more intrinsically palatable (not to mention significantly darker) than anything so far bearing the Parenthetical Girls name. Which is to say, it's much better.
Portand, Oregon’s Parenthetical Girls have traded in their small-screen sincerity for a bold and blustering Technicolour â€“ 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! 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 â€“ its hues distantly reminiscent of names like Krzystof Penderecki, Philip Glass, and Gavin Bryars.