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Album Review

LISA PARADE
Finding Flora

What can you say when the first time through an album a track jumps out and grabs you by the ears, banging your head against the desk until bloody? That sledgehammer came in the form of My Day Anyway, good ol' track #5 of Finding Flora, and though I am somewhat resistant to the modern day version of power pop, I am sold. I haven't been so carried away since Michelle Branch's Are You Happy Now?, a song which put more than a few stitches in my head. This is not good.

Lisa Parade and band (are they known as THE Lisa Parade, as the music warrants?) blast through twelve outstanding pop songs on Finding Flora, and when I say pop, I mean rockin' with hook. There are influences, but when the music starts it all goes out the window. Latin, hip hop, power pop, gypsy, hard rock, theater--- so many genres crushed into song after song, presented in subtle but majestic blitzes between moments of floating ethereal clarity. At times it is wall of sound madness, at others simple rhythmic gutwrench, at still others virtual epiphany. And by that I mean that when you hear it, you say that's it! They nailed it! There are lots of nails in this album.

The amazing thing about the young Lisa Parade is that she packs an astounding amount of wallop for her years. Musically and lyrically she rises to the top, song after song, not once bowing to the cringe factor (that phrase so lame that you cannot help but cringe) and in fact bonding words and music with a superglue beyond cool. Cool is when it is cool. Beyond is when it is right.

This was no easy album to put together, either. It is rampant with layers of vocals, overdubs, twists and turns which make it hard to dissect after numerous listens. Great thing is, it's so good you don't want to. The nuances come to you when they come, whether it be the fifth time through or the tenth. It doesn't matter. The song is the key and Parade can write, but isn't it great when you can hear a small guitar riff in the midst of a favorite part which you had missed? Or a vocal harmony? Or even finally decipher a background lyric which had until then evaded you?

For those who wonder, Finding Flora is not a prefab package slapped together for MTV or VH1. It has not been manufactured by major label legerdemain utilizing bells and whistles and employing engineers and supposed industry geniuses. Lisa Parade (and band) put this together note by note, layer by layer, and for that reason alone you should give it a chance.

Click on the links, music fans. A song is worth a thousand words and Lisa Parade has a boatload of them, all interesting and all good. If you're leery, start with My Day Anyway. If that doesn't do it, maybe you just don't enjoy her kind of music. If you do and don't get it, I would suggest an appointment with either your shrink or an audiologist because this is great stuff. In the meantime, I have to see a doctor myself. Something about stitches. I'm sending Parade the bill.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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