Looking Glass Wars - A Place in a Parlor (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Looking Glass Wars

A Place in a Parlor (2008)


Whenever I see a local band I've never heard of open a bigger bill at the Crazy Donkey, the results tend to be disastrous. But Looking Glass Wars was the rare exception to the rule when I saw them open for Anthony Green last year, playing choppy, progressive pop-rock in the Gatsbys American Dream vein (though the band later made the reasonable claim to me they'd never even heard of GAD).

Their latest release since that gig is a new, free digital EP dubbed A Place in a Parlor. It's well-recorded and ambitiously structured, and this time the band manage to avoid easy comparisons. However, their lead vocalist does sound vaguely like the theatrical love child of Panic at the Disco's Brendan Urie and Nightmare of You's Brandon Reilly. But if there's dissuasion to be had, it wouldn't necessarily be all on frontman Brendan Rivera's hands.

I've read a comparison to Matchbook Romance's Voices and that's an easy way to sum things up. The instrumentation is creative, crisp and jumpy, alternating from choppy riffs and clever drum patterns to heavier, distorted attacks.

But it's maybe a little too jumpy. I hear a lot of potential in this band, but something is sorely missing. The transitions seem rushed and could benefit from some deliberation; maybe the band chose to forgo it altogether, but it just seems like the songs would sound better if things were slowed down occasionally. "What Beats a Bear?" tries to build an ominous atmosphere but stumbles over its feet a bit in doing so.

Everything on A Place in a Parlor moves a little too fast for what's actually going on. You can still grasp it, but there isn't enough motivation to consistently bother. Looking Glass Wars exhibit quite enough creativity and enthusiasm here, but I'm much more interested in what could result from that in the future.

A Place in a Parlor

A Place in a Parlor