“The Surgeon’s Knife”
Poke around the website for Altamont, N.Y. act the Parlor, and you’ll find all the markers of a post-millennial artisanal indie-folk act: dainty illustrated album art, pastoral images of band lynchpins Eric Krans and Jen O’Connor sitting among oversized flowers with acoustic guitars, a bio that mentions sharing past bills with the Lumineers and Willy Mason, and a debut album that splits the difference between the Arcade Fire’s communal chorales and Animal Collective’s clap-happy euphoria.
But all those signifiers feel instantly outmoded upon listening to the band’s upcoming sophomore release, Wahzu Wahzu. Sprinkled with Catskills-scraped pixie dust by producer Anthony Molina (of upstate icons Mercury Rev), the album sees the Parlor stoking their campfire into a forest-scorching disco inferno, staking out their dancefloor on backwoods dirt and using the stars above as their LED rig. "The Surgeon’s Knife" is the album’s sparkling, mirror-ball centerpiece: with its clipped acoustic groove, O’Connor’s luminous coo, and a 4/4 beat that blurs the line between a dusty-boot stomp and bass-bin thump, the song is a dream-sequence rendering of the Daft Punk MTV Unplugged special that never happened in 2001. When O’Connor sings, "we’re feeling like dancing," it’s both an invitation to join her rural rave, and a farewell to the Parlor’s sepia-toned past.