Since 2010, Parenthetical Girls have been releasing a series of EP’s titled Privilege. The band then decided to compile all of the EPs into an abridged album, simply called Privilege (Abridged). For fans who weren’t able to find those limited and/or vinyl-only gems, releasing box sets is a brilliant idea– especially since there are still many who refuse to give in to digital media.
Psychedelic and spacey, “Evelyn Mchale” already establishes the band’s chamber pop sound, with vocalist Zac Pennington’s dramatic vibrato. One can hear a bit of POP ETC’s (formerly known as The Morning Benders) breakthrough single, “Excuses.”
“Careful Who You Dance With” is a quirky electro-pop tune, layered with big synths and carefully placed blips and bloops. Nods to New Order and Depeche Mode are evident, as Pennington’s voice sails along the track with romantic intent.
“For All the Final Girls” counters the previous song’s heavy use of strings, minimal percussion, and somewhat theatrical production. Tracks like “A Note To Self” and “Young Throats” are pop dance-alongs that showcase the range of Parenthetical Girls’ songwriting abilities. Pennington’s voice gets louder and louder, almost an homage to Bright Eyes, except less desperate and dire.
The album closes with “Curtains,” a dreamy, New Wave ballad doused in nostalgia and deep, fat drums. This is, without a doubt, the strongest song on the album. It combines all of what makes Parenthetical Girls great: excellent production, clever melodies and various styles jammed into one showcase of pop prowess.