Written by Fense
Sings Like A Priest, the latest from The Sweetheart Parade (MySpace), again sets the stage for a Jason Molina (Songs: Ohio, The Magnolia Electric Co.) reference. Simply put, Joshua Britton’s (or JB) voice sounds mighty like that of Molina; they’re entrenched in a deep emotive folk minimalism. It’s not surprising, however, that JB’s voice has a bit more power — the difference is definitely in volume.
Where Molina’s groups truly live up to the minimalist moniker, insofar as they never seem to come full circle volume and orchestration-wise, The Sweetheart Parade does take the latter route often drawing out noise through skilled orchestral movements and building songs from the minimal to the epic and back from the standpoint of volume. Case in point is “Slow Heart Snowfall”, where beautifully dark female backup vocals chime.
Despite all these references to a certain somebody, there is one item that The Sweetheart Parade does better than virtually all artists out there–they tell fascinating stories, crafted in lyrics. Perhaps the album show-stopper is “Crooked Crow”; when the vocals drop out only to be replaced by a lap slide guitar, it’s breathtaking. From there, the volume grows and grows for a beautifully mastered, climactic conclusion. Sing Like A Priest ends with “Yven”; at nearly seven minutes, the song has adequate time to build up to one of the more noted climaxes on the album.
Overall, Sing Like A Priest shows the band growing both musically and in number. It’s a large step from Smaller Constellations, which wasn’t released all that long ago. While that album was a bit more singular in JB’s vision — that album didn’t include the extent of orchestration as this one, the conclusion is the same: another stunning album by The Sweetheart Parade!
Self-Released [CD, 2008]
2. Sings Like A Priest
5. Slow Heart Snowfall
6. Crooked Crow
7. Lay Waste