Although local act New Thrill Parade enjoys flaunting the "goth" tag, its music hardly conjures visions of languid youths seducing one another over a Sisters of Mercy soundtrack. Rather, the group provides a visceral, melodramatic onslaught with an undercurrent of impending disaster. If the decadents of old Berlin have a cabaret in hell, New Thrill Parade could be the house band.
The group doesn't take long to draw blood on its new full-length, Slumber in Colorland. Squeaky back-alley sax kicks off a manic punk outburst before New Thrill Parade briefly settles into its trademark sludgefeast. The record's loping basslines resemble the late post-punk of Unwound at times and the guitarist plays surfy, dissonant stabs. Drummer (and recent Butt magazine cover star) Troy Delaney deserves credit for propelling Slumber's tension and release. He swings at the right moments, yet can comfortably clobber a bass drum and cymbal to punctuate vocalist Amitai Heller's snake-oil-salesman exhortations.
Heller commands the most attention on Slumber, leaping from a strangled vibrato to a thick baritone and guttural whispers within the scope of one song. The morbid imagery of his lyrics provides a running commentary on commodification: one song is titled "Paradise Leased" and another "Paradise Glommed," while "yellow-bellied auctioneers" and "financiers" are called out on "Colorland." The lattermost track simmers quietly among a jazzy horn riff and a Smithsy melody, feeling menacing in its restraint. The doomy organs of album closer "Dark Strains" are tempered by backing vocals that recall playground chants and flutes that flutter prettily, revealing that sometimes even goths just wanna have fun.