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Folk music, like all genres, needs to stay relevant. And whilst some like to guard the demarcations of the musical realm as they see them, it is to those working on the fringes, those bending, breaking and reshaping the sonic landscape, that we must look for the essential evolution. Parabola West is just such an artist. Through her blends of traditional folk styles and forward-thinking electronica…folktronica, if you will…she creates a path to the future for folk fans, or at least for broad-minded folk fans who are happy to be uprooted from their entrenched comfort zones.
The uniqueness and creativity on offer here are highlighted by the fact that very few reference points come easily to mind and those that do are fairly iconic – Kate Bush, Loreena McKennitt, Bat For Lashes – and that’s about it.
At one extreme you have songs such as the drifting and dreamlike “Hannah”, a cinematic, filmic folk fog that seems to drift past the listener rather than engage them directly. At the other, “No One Can Get Me Here” is a strange folk meets alt-pop meets chilled dance hybrid. “The Edge” is powered by an almost 80’s vibe, punctuating and polished electronic beats driving hazy balladry, and, despite the name, “Bippity Boppity” sits at the more traditional end of the folk spectrum, a gentle waltz shot through with moments of oddity and anthemic drama.
Earlier single “Calling Your Name” signalled that something special was going to be unleashed but I don’t think many anticipated just what a game-changer Stars Will Light The Way would be.
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