Label: Slender Means Society Release date: 23/02/10 Link: Myspace Imagine yourself in a palatial setting of comfort, cool drink at your right hand, hot meal of your favorite food at your left hand, the room at the perfect temperature. Now imagine that in the same room, a white noise machine is going just loud enough that everything you do has that layer on it – it’s still all pretty and comfortable, but there’s just a layer of constant fuzz and hiss. Now imagine that this experience was a four song EP all being sung by a vaguely effeminate man who likes album covers of himself in weird forms. Welcome to Parenthetical Girls, sir or madam. Please talk a seat and buckle in for some offsetting beauty. While I’m sure that readers like the omnipresent grump Rob will criticize this comparison and even entire review, what you cannot deny is the fact that front man Zac Pennington can sing. And while at times his voice may sound like a combination of Kevin Barnes and a tenor-carrying Morrissey, even to the point of mistaking these new songs for older covers, it’s always in the same style of emoting that has come to be the previous releases from the band’s shining beacon. Take the first song, ‘Evelyn McHale,’ which takes the picture of the famous NYC building diver, then contextualizes the aftermath into a story of how the public was taken, all led by the sad yet assured delivery of Pennington. ‘”And we never meant you any harm,” he says over a great jangle pop backing with tasteful synth interjections. The rest of the album tackles the issues of death and (according to the full title) endearments by relating stories of lost love, woe, and what being a muse means. Each song adds a new layer to the melancholic fray, slowly building and expounding upon the thesis. By the end of the four song EP, it seems as though the band has come to peace, skipping six steps. In lieu of more summation, just listen to the music. Photobucket