Monday, March 8, 2010

Watching the Holiday Parade

Like it always seems to be these days, it's been a few days since I posted, but just like all the times before, I promise I have a good reason. Never mind that I was in a job interview all day (which continues this week too, by the way lol), but I've been taking my time finding some new groups because I'm trying to broaden the reach of my posts in terms of sound and genre.
So that's enough of me droning on, let's get to the important stuff. The story today (or tonight perhaps) is Holiday Parade, a four-piece that I am proud to say comes from right here in Atlanta, Georgia. Comprising members Andy Albert (vocals and acoustic guitar), Michael Whitworth (guitar and keys), Joel Merritt (bass), and Kenny Muto (guitar), Holiday Parade's sound is a great blend of easy pop-rock melodies with nice rhythms that leaves nothing to be desired. As of yet, Holiday Parade have released four albums: Two Cheers for Tuesday in '06, This Is My Year in '07, and To You. From Us. in '08. The one that I want to focus on, however, is their most recent ambition, Tickets & Passports released in April of 2009. Like tracks I've listened to on their earlier albums, the tracks on Tickets & Passports are solid rock songs, but seem more of a realization in terms of top-notch production and great mixing. Sometimes production can be over-the-top, as in cases when punk-rock is too polished and loses its flavor. But for the type of music they clearly love to play, Holiday Parade put out an album on which the production is one of the shining aspects and a big plus.
The first song I listen to from the album is "Nothing Personal." A tightly laid out track in itself, "Nothing Personal" boasts a great beat and rhythm with melodic, stick-in-your-head vocals and guitar riffs that you'll go to bed humming. Albert's vocals are a brilliant storm of melody and emotion, and mix fantastically with Whitworth's and Muto's guitars. In the back, among solid drumbeats, Merritt's bass can be clearly heard setting a driving tone for the song. I particularly like the overlapping vocals towards the end of the song. This is not an overly complicated song, but it works so well that it doesn't need to be. The most punk-rock thing that anyone can do is create more with less, and here Holiday Parade branch the piano-pop-rock sound in new directions with the simple chemistry of guitar, bass, and vocals. A great song, and my choice for a great single. The fact that it's radio-friendly is just a plus in the marketing light.
Track two for me is "Time for Me," and from the first notes on Whitworth's piano, I love the way this song is going. Like the previous track, it's simple in it's composure, but that doesn't stop it from having a great, driving chorus. Albert's vocals are clear and crisp, and among Whitworth's and Muto's brilliant guitar interplay, rest lightly on the ear in just the way that they should. I love the bridge in this song, and the interlude is a great way to keep the song moving in a non-repetitive way. Merritt's bass is a bit more in the background here, but by no means absent. It keeps the chorus flowing nicely, and lies perfectly between Whitworth's and Muto's guitars while providing a perfect stage for Albert's vocals. Definitely one of the best songs on the record in my humble opinion.
The last song that I listen to is the title track. This six-minute track is a masterpiece on the album: with smooth, emotional vocals, and lyrics that actually talk about something relevant, it's certainly one of Holiday Parade's best efforts. Albert's vocals and guitar are at their very best here, and against an easy drumbeat, Merritt's bass makes a grand stand, letting itself be known without drowning out the melody of the song. Combined with Whitworth's guitar and keys, and Muto's own guitar notes, "Tickets & Passports" is the power-ballad to hear on this album. With a rhythm befitting its romantic lyrics and melody, all four members of Holiday Parade combine their talents on this last track to dazzle the ears with a storm of notes and keys, melody and emotion. The song is so well done, even the ending is one of the high points, with a fade-out on piano keys and snare-drum beats. I absolutely love this track, and it's definitely one of the five-star songs on the album. Brilliant. 
You guys gotta definitely check these guys out, and here's the perfect chance at the end of the week: Holiday Parade and Seven Story Fall are playing a FREE acoustic show at North Point Mall on Friday, March 12th, and I'll certainly be there. I believe they'll also be playing again with SSF as Masquerade on the 20th, but unfortunately I won't be able to attend. But that doesn't mean you guys can't, and I'm telling you, these guys, with Seven Story Fall, AND Freshmen 15 (on the 20th at Masquerade), those aren't shows you're gonna want to miss. I absolutely can't wait to see them this Friday, that concert's gonna rock.

Sounds Like: Waking Ashland, Mayday Parade, Secondhand Serenade, All Time Low

Key Tracks from Tickets & Passports: "Nothing Personal," "Time for Me," "Tickets & Passports," "Forever"

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