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  • Jonathan Widran

PARA LIA, Soap Bubble Dreams

If you like your indie/alt rock served via with a loud and crunchy wall of sound, with dark, offbeat atmospheres, coolly droning, mysterious lead vocals and dreamy female harmonies, Para Lia just might be your ticket. Fascinatingly, all these textures on Para Lia’s debut album are the product of a true one man band, Cotttbus, Germany based multi-instrumentalist Rene Methner, who creates his hypno-blistering vibe by bringing to a fiery boil a whirlwind of voice, guitar, bass, mellotron, keyboards and drum programming.

Though the constant soaring and fiery guitars often distract from Methner’s voice, when it stands about above the flames, it’s a marvel of deep monotone soul. Bringing touches lightness and deft buoyancy/transcendence to the choruses and formidable hooks of these songs are the beautiful harmony vocals of Methner’s wife Cindy.

Though the second track, the blistering (of course!) jam “Wait,” is the album’s first single, the core of the album are the booming, practically symphonic title track “Soap Bubble Dreams” and “Higher and Away,” which begins as a mid-tempo respite before scorching on Methners’ axe pack and the wings of the couples’ glorious fluttering harmonies.

Once Methner had finished up these two tracks, he set about seeking a cool moniker for the band project. His facility for Greek and passion for Greece led his mind towards the word “paralia,” which translates to “beach.” As he says, “Isn’t it a beautiful place to be?” Sure, but not when your ears are blasting this kind of hard rock – so it’s the ultimate ironic name for a “group” whose sound is anything but breezy and beachy. That’s perhaps the most compelling conceit of all.

Few of these songs stand out defiantly from one another, with the notable exception of the final track “Who Gets Fooled Again,” which prior to the bombast gets off some haunting licks and later incorporates trippy spoken word (foreign language) vocals over the heavenly (and oft repeated) chorus. Best to experience a few tracks at a time, between beach walks.

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