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Para Lia – Photo Credit: René Methner
It’s not that often that we hear about really great German bands in North America and certainly even less frequently are we presented with information (and music) about artists hailing from the eastern part of the country. Today we break down some barriers by presenting ‘Hawk Hill’, the new single from Para Lia, a talented guitar-based indie pop-rock duo from Cottbus, located roughly 130 km southeast of Berlin. Did that fact impact on the band and their music? It most certainly did.
Comprised of René Methner (all instruments and vocals) and Cindy Methner (backing vocals), these musical beings were raised in a small town in a divided Germany. René had learned acoustic guitar from a young age, but he only finally started making music when he moved to Cottbus to attend university. There, he started his first band and has gone through a series of other bands since then as guitarist, songwriter, and frontman.
Para Lia is the result of these two meeting up in Cottbus many years after leaving their hometown. They first presented their music publicly in April 2018.
“In 2017 I felt something inside musically and the inner need to let it out. So I started to write songs again… She makes me feel complete, we are soul mates. So it also feels in our music,” explains Methner. Around that time, Cindy came into his life and the couple transformed into a marriage and the musical tandem we know today as Para Lia.
The new single ‘Hawk Hill’ will be released on June 14. A special Bandcamp edition also features two additional tracks: ‘Over It (single version)’ and ‘On My Way Home’. Here we feel the embers of Arcade Fire and The Mission with a more pop bent, as well as sounds that ought to appeal to fans of The Last Shadow Puppets, Sebadoh and Editors. The vibe and flow here are very strong, the song is full of meaning that many can identify, and the tandem vocals during what seems to be a Beatles-inspired chorus are the icing on the cake. Listen on repeat to invigorate your day.
“Hawk Hill is about my love/hate relationship with the small insignificant town of Falkenberg, where I spent my childhood. In German, ‘Falke’ means hawk and ‘Berg’ means mountain. But in fact Falkenberg has no hawks or mountains. The words ‘Hawk Hill Lane’ popped into my head one day while working on a guitar riff – it was a ‘Penny Lane’ moment, reminding me of the street I walked down every day to go to school. The vocals reflect today’s view on a town with the same fate as many small towns in rural East Germany,“ says René Methner.
“After big political changes in early 90’s Germany, many jobs were lost, youth moved out, schools and cultural centres closed, the cash flow stopped and small towns like Falkenberg fell dormant – kind of like a dead end street. You still can smell the fragrance of the past. Both Cindy and I grew up in Falkenberg and even lived on the same street, but we never met back then. We met years later and understood that we’ve walked the same streets and shared the same roots – a great good omen for walking hand in hand into the future.”
Para Lia’s sound is inspired by best of the ‘90s alternative scene and ‘80s goth rock – you can hear this on their new EP. Processed through their own private filter, their own output cleverly balances guitar and resonant synths. This new single release follows hot on the trail of their debut album Soap Bubble Dreams, a collection of 10 tracks that released in March 2019.
“Para Lia is the most intimate music project I ever made. It is just everything I was breathing in with regards to music influences in the past few decades and my personal musical development over the years… what I ultimately breath out is Para Lia. For me, a song is beautiful if it radiates something special. I love good melodies and a loud and crunchy wall of sound, combined with gentle harmonies,“ says René Methner.
As of June 14, the ‘Hawk Hill’ single is out on digital platforms, including iTunes and Spotify. The special Bandcamp exclusive edition also includes two equally strong tracks and can already be pre-ordered HERE.
1. Hawk Hill
2. Over It (single version)
3. On My Way Home
René Methner – Vocals, Guitars, Bass Guitar, Mellotron, Keys, Drum Programming
Cindy Methner – Vocals
Words and music, mixing and production by René Methner
Mastering by turnstylemastering, Berlin
The Big Takeover is excited to host the premiere of the fast-paced “Hawk Hill” a gritty indie rock track that runs on defiant lyrics, a chugging bass line, cycling-forward rock guitar pattern, and a fleet drum beat. René Methner sings in a deeper, matter-of-fact voice on the verses, but then rises in tone as he’s joined by Cindy Methner with her airy vocal register. “Hawk Hill” is a dynamic, catchy, and lyrically perceptive track that attracts the ears in no time flat.
Also check out Para Lia’s recently released album Soap Bubble Dreams and support, where possible, via Bandcamp.
And their video for ‘Higher and Away’: