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Parade (British Girl Group): Parade

Album Notes

Taking advantage of Girls Aloud's self-imposed hiatus, Pussycat Dolls' breakup, and Sugababes' continuous demise, five-piece Parade are at the sassy streetwise end of the plethora of new girl bands lining up to take their place. Having already scored a Top Ten hit and an appearance on a recent Rimmel ad with the playful call-and-response R&B of "Louder," they've made a pretty decent start, but unfortunately, their self-titled debut album is unlikely to sustain its momentum. While its admirable that they've largely ignored the ubiquitous urban-electro direction that it would have been much easier to pursue, Parade have instead opted for a just as passé sound. Indeed, everything about the album screams late '90s/early 2000s, from their over-stylized image on its sleeve, to the middle-eight dance breakdown on "Knock on My Door," to the faceless girl power anthems of "Shoes" and "Perfume," while elsewhere, the watered-down jazz-pop of "Like You," the retro doo wop soul of "Just a Girl," and the glossy nu-synth of "Weatherman" sound like they've been cobbled together from various other artists' leftovers. However, there are a few more encouraging signs littered throughout its 14 tracks, from the tongue-in-cheek lyrics of the guitar-charged "Mr. Right Now" ("You are kind of like an appetizer/No you're kind of like MacGyver"), which showcases a personality that the girls would do well to further play on, to the Crystal Castles-esque synths that dominate the anthemic trance-pop of "Stars," to the swirling techno of closer "Rollercoaster," the latter two of which both prove that they're capable of producing electro-pop without resorting to the usual clichés. But with their more prevalent no-frills brand of R&B-pop more suited to the tidal wave of girl bands that quickly capitalized on the Spice Girls' success, it's hard to shake the feeling that Parade have missed their moment by about a decade. ~ Jon O'Brien


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