Those Who Ignore Depeche…
With the departure of her partner, Crystal Castles drummer Cameron Findlay, Toronto’s Holly Dodson carries the mantle of their synth-pop startup, Parallels, by herself. The results on the second Parallels album, XII, are tasty aural treats that nevertheless feel like they have no staying power.
Songs like “Days of Summer,” with Dodson’s lilting melody and polite lyrics, suggest she’s trying to simultaneously punch up and clean up the sounds of other recent exemplars of female-led indie dance. Yet in wiping away the production dirt of Grimes and Purity Ring, Parallels fails to match the attitudinal grit of Robyn or La Roux.
Further, Dodson’s instrumentals are full of the twinkling synths and flat beats Depeche Mode used as they permeated college rock up through 101 and Violator. Heck, songs like “Electrimotion” sound like DM mashed up with Madonna vocals. It’s no sonic surprise the big hit on here is “Moonlight Desires,” a cover of a Gowan single from—wait for it—1987.
It would be curious to see Findlay return or someone else join Dodson on the next Parallels release. Maybe the act works best when ideas bounce off more than one brain. Dodson made XII into a fun album, but it feels too much like too many other acts, making the artistry and energy feel only sugar-rush temporary.