Hives Fives EP
[Temporary Residence; 2005]
Although brief, this four-song EP signals a major directional shift for the Louisville-based instrumental outfit Parlour. First established in the late 1990s by Tim Furnish– a vet who has played with such scene stalwarts as Crain, the For Carnation, and Papa M– Parlour’s two previous albums were essentially glorified solo works, featuring tracks written by Furnish between the years 1996-2001 that relied heavily on atmospheric swells, drones, and textures derived from his laptop.
The Parlour featured on Hives Fives, however, is one who has undergone an extensive and beneficial renovation. On these tracks– recorded by Paul Oldham in December 2004– the now full-fledged group has expanded to a seven-piece, together utilizing a substantially broader range of live instrumentation. These new additions, particularly the bass clarinet and saxophone work of Steve Good and Craig McClurkin, help to infuse and circulate enough fresh blood to animate every square inch of Furnish’s compositions, resulting in Parlour’s most vibrant and distinctive work to date.
Bursting with layers of burbling analog keyboards, guitars, and locomotive drumming, Hives Fives could garner comparisons to Tortoise’s Millions Now Living Will Never Die. Another significant point of reference is the seminal work of post-rock pioneers Pell Mell, whose lively, expansive melodicism is echoed strongly in Parlour’s deft guitar and keyboard interchanges. Even so, on Hives Fives this extended version of the group make considerable advances in establishing a unique, recognizable identity that was sometimes lacking on Parlour’s earlier releases.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that all four of these tracks come equipped with several massive melodic hooks, each able to shape-shift from one chorus to the next without the group breaking stride. On the introductory “Such (A One Year Stem)” dense synth and woodwind drones combine to lay down an absorbent carpet of moss beneath the competing volleys of chiming guitar and percolating drumbeats. The title track is a throbbing, lively, forward-looking piece of such sunny disposition that it almost resembles the soundtrack to an unusually adventurous industrial video, sounding as though it should be providing accompaniment to quick-cut footage of robots busy building jet engines or minting new pennies.
” Timorme” coordinates puffs of narcotic clarinet and Bitches Brew keyboards before giving way to irregular, modernist guitar jangle, while the closing “Bringseeds” pushes things even further off-kilter, as pulsing electronic chords and drummer Joey Yates’ jittery hopscotch rhythms eventually coalesce into muscular full-group riffing. About the only thing you can say against the songs of Hives Fives is that there are not more of them. This full-scale version of Parlour fairly begs for a more suitably epic expanse of terrain, and one can only hope that it’s not long before we see this group able to truly stretch their legs.
-Matthew Murphy, April 6, 2005
Hive Fives likely refers to the busy nature of these four recordings, the fact that they all hover around the five-minute mark, and palm-to-palm cultural pleasantries the band members probably exchanged after listening to the finished product for the first time. Brief but fantastic and laptop-free, Hive Fives is the sound of Parlour’s seven members in instrumental synergy—guitars and tenor saxes and synths and clarinets spinning wheels in fun (if derivative) ways.
“Such” is a veritable jungle of a song, with guitars, bass, and drum establishing a groovin’ melodic path for triumphant horns and camoflauged and reedy synths to diversify; there’s just too much happening in the clearings by the two-minute mark to focus on it all at once. The title track pits brassy, sax and bass-clarinet harmonizing against a repeating, “Jetsons”-like keyboard hiccup and sucks the “Doogie Howser, MD” and “A-Team” themes into its motorik mix. On “Bringseeds,” Parlour endeavors to out-Sonic Youth Sonic Youth—and pulls it off, breezily.
Hives Fives EP
Tim Furnish (The For Carnation, Aerial M, Crain) is still the main force, but this time out he’s put together a seven-piece and he keeps the sound decidedly in “the real.”
The funny thing is that the absence of major electronic appliances doesn’t change the sound all that much. These songs are still playfully orchestral, with the sense of mirth and wonder that often inhabits Furnish’s work.
Four songs are certainly not enough. But that’s what we have right now. Another day, perhaps another Parlour album. Until then, we’ll have to make do with this brief packet of bliss.
Temporary Residence Ltd.
Relative to Parlour’s previous record Googler, this four-song EP is like instrumental butter – absolutely awesome. Unlike Googler and Octopus Off-Broadway, headman Tim Furnish employed a sweeping cadre of music talent for this new Parlour effort. Much of this comes by the way of displacing computers for the exploits of live musicians – here, working as a seven-piece. It is not that Parlour has entirely said peace out to electronics – as Ben Vandermeer and Furnish provide synths – it is just that some of it is replaced by Steve Good’s bass clarinet and Craig McClurkin’s tenor sax; easily the best piece of music with a sax that I’ve heard in awhile. The most disappointing aspect of the EP is that it is only an EP – we want a full-length. After the stunning and soothing opener “Such (A One Year Stem),” comes the oddly A-Team familiar riff on “Hives Fives.” “Timorme” and “Bringseeds” close the EP with a slightly more angular attack; though, “Timorme” moves towards a jam band feel towards the end. It is clear from this EP that Parlour have improved enormously and now we wait with baited breath for future endeavors.
at first i really didn’t like parlour’s “hives fives”, but today, it made me happy. it’s like an instrumental orbital or new order. bass lines dragging you along in pop glory while a sense of campy cosmos is hurdling you outward. full band action. goodness.
From Louisville Kentucky, birthplace of Muhammad Ali, come Parlour, and whereas Ali famously floated like a butterfly then stung like a bee, on their ‘hives fives’ ep Parlour manage to float and sting simultaneously. This buzzes along nicely, propelled by some Jaki Liebezeit-styled drumming, and a winning combination of 80s sounding synths and Canterbury-esque wind instrumentation all updated into a maelstrom of post-rock playfulness. (The temporary residence limited. TRR 82 www.parlour.net)
Tim Furnish is zoals gezegd tegenwoordig te vinden in het rustige Parlour, waarmee hij reeds de cd’s Octopus Off-Broadway en Googler heeft gemaakt. Repetitieve, jazzy postrock duidt de muziek aardig. In de hoek van Tortoise, maar vaak iets meer uitgesproken. Nu is er de mini Hives Fives, waarop hij met zes anderen een prachtig geluid neerzet. Gewapend met gitaren, bas, synthesizers, basklarinet, tenorsax en drums klinken ze overtuigender dan ooit. De repetitieve elektronische muziek krijgt nu ballen door Legendary Pinkdots-achtige blaaspartijen, krautrock met een drive à la Neu!, de licht dissonante experimenten van Sonic Youth en de nachtelijke jazzclub-sfeer van Tortoise. Bij vlagen wordt het zelfs iets harder. Maar zong Tim met Crain ooit nog uitzinnig “Hey Cops! Don’t Beat The Shit Out Of Me”, nu heeft hij rustig instrumentale muziek met titels als “Bringseeds”. De wilde haren zijn weg, maar een prachtig kapsel is ervoor teruggekomen.
Hives Fives EP
Temporary Residence Ltd.
Rating: 7/10 ?Parlour was created by Tim Furnish in 1996 after his previous band, the post-hardcore outfit Crain, dissolved. Furnish, also spending time in Aerial M and The For Carnation, slowly nurtured Parlour’s existence with minimal productivity. It wasn’t until 2002 that the first Parlour full-length, Octopus Off-Broadway, was released. That same year, Googler ripened for public consumption, and now, three years later, Furnish returns with Parlour as his main focus.
Hives Fives begins with “Such (A One Year Stem)” gently ushering the listener into their mellow brand of instrumental rock. Bouncing synthesizer beeps tag each other as live percussion and a calming haze reverberate, beginning a layering of sounds.
The disc’s eponymous second track begins with clunky bass picking manifesting into a happy-go-lucky, spacey ramble, bringing to mind Peanuts and Charlie Brown. “Timorme” also starts with a bass line, and is subtler, giving way to synthesizer cadence with each successive instrument standing up and making its presence known.
The EP ends with “Bringseeds,” which is more electronic and brings the album full circle by returning to the journey’s initial sound; it is smooth in progression and shows Parlour’s strength: they can gently fold sound into sound, each time creating a new whole.
Parlour utilizes seven members to flesh out each song – most notably, two woodwinds (tenor sax and bass clarinet) that add a rich, organic feel to the disc. While only four songs in length, the EP clocks in at just over 20 minutes and is a solid introduction to Parlour’s newest incarnation of down-tempo instrumental meanderings.
Reviewed by David Spain
New 20 minute four song ep from Louisville post rockers Parlour. While there’s no escaping their deep connection to Tortoise — we’re talking circa Millions Now Living… — they also have a broad arsenal of musical weapons at their disposal which make them stand out. Most significantly is the inclusion of both bass clarinet and tenor saxophone as prominant leaders in their sonic pallette, but also richly endowed with the sounds of tasteful analogy synths, jangling guitars and the requisite bass and drums. To be fair to Parlour, and maybe give a little more credit where credit is due, their sound is probably even closer to that of Pell Mell (who were squeezing out their own surfy brand of instrumental post rock long before Tortoise ever played a single note).
Parlour – Hives Fives
Tim Furnish’s post for carnation incarnation features well-executed, moderate and steadily propulsive Germanic instrumentals with cyclical horn motifs that, though engaging, can occasionally prove a little predictable. The arrangements are similarly pleasing, if not regularly surprising, until “Bringseeds,” the last track. Parlour know their strengths, I think: better than technically interesting guitar tones, chirping keyboards and suitably catchy hooks throughout the tunes. Great, warm sounds are really the strength of this vinyl only release. (Review by Joel Bordeaux)
PARLOUR | HIVES FIVES
CD, Temporary Residence/Konkurrent
Na het onsamenhangende Googler kiest Parlour met de e.p. Hives Fives er bewust voor om een consistente plaat af te leveren.
De band rond Tim Furnish bestaat intussen uit zeven personen en dat hoor je ook. Laptops werden vervangen door traditionele instrumenten en zo hoor je naast gitaren, synthesizers en drums ook basklarinet en tenorsax.
Dit helpt Parlour om gelaagde arrangementen op te zetten die best wel dromerig zijn. Maar toch smaakt Hives Fives wrang. Parlour zwemt met de grote stroom mee naar de eindeloze zee die postrock heet, om daar wat doelloos rond te dobberen. En dan ben je er met je arrangementen natuurlijk niet. Met de nummers op zich wordt zo goed als niets gedaan en de talloze herhalingen zijn eerder vermoeiend dan constructief.
Het titelnummer is misschien nog de beste poging. Daar roepen keyboards vage herinneringen aan Trans Am op, maar ook daar zakt het wegens een gebrek aan spanning zielloos ineen.
tekst: Hans van der Linden