Algernon Cadwallader - Parrot Flies (Cover Artwork)

Algernon Cadwallader

Parrot Flies (2011)

Be Happy!

"Interesting indeed..." is what came to mind while quietly jamming the new LP from twinkly emo revivalists, Algernon Cadwallader. Their self-released new album is called Parrot Flies, and I just love the South Park-style paper cutout of the parrot on the front. Something is really stirring in Philadelphia because so much great music is coming from there these days. Music in the veins of Midwest '90s emo.

I made the mistake of missing them on their current tour of the States when I found out they booked a show in Oklahoma, but on a different day from what I thought. No matter, no matter; it's all good. What makes up for it is this set of wonderful tunes, sure to make the summer here less crappy than usual for a 26-year-old like me. Track one, titled "Springing Leaks", has a quick 1-2 second instrumental strum that instantly reminds me of American Football's "Never Meant". It then proceeds to move forward with very nice, loopy guitars of twinkle bits and precise, mathy drumming provided by the Tank. Lead singer Peter Helmis still has the Kinsella-esque voice, but it never tires out for me. I still love it, and since Cap n'Jazz aren't making anything new as of late (who knows...), this sits well with me. His bass playing really adds to the overall sound, and since they have become a three-piece, it's even more important. Joe's guitars, besides making sweet notes, get to bleed out a little bit and show off their crunchiness. Yes, they've moved onto the more "indie" side of things and I can't help but think of Sonic Youth or Dinosaur Jr. as the last few seconds of "Springing Leaks" end.

Title track "Parrot Flies" is a stunner, and one of the many highlights. I love the mood and flowing motions of the guitars, which should make the listener glad to be along on the journey. Another highlight is "Chewed Up and Spit Out (In a Bowl)", which, in its short length, manages to become a catchy number with a nice change-up and glossy shine. And then there's the final track, "Cruisin'", that becomes the endcap to this experience, as the guitars gently fade away and I'm left wanting more.

I believe the gap between their immediate influences has hit its mark. If you listen carefully, you can hear the delicate care it took to make each note and each pitch the right amount, and how the overall flow is more up-tempo and less downstream. There is a raw quality that is noticeable, and I will agree that it probably comes from their desire to be self-contained when the recording sessions went down. Reading their blog for a little while, I knew that the work they were doing was going to personal, and yet special. The question of sophomore slump (If there ever could be one...) came about me often. Without a doubt, Algernon Cadwallader have done better than I could have hoped, and this new album proves that. Sorry, but I can't find anything wrong with this. Dig it...