Parakeet – Shonen Hearts EP

The De Mello Rating: 

I went through many phases in my musical evolution and one of those was ska. I’m not talking about traditional ska that I still love and greatly admire. No, I’m talking about 1990’s ska; the butcherization of a genre. I admit it, I fell under the spell of horns, rhythmic guitars and catchy lyrics that often made no sense or were merely there to be funny. One of the bands I liked was a band called Dancehall Crashers. They were fun and they had a really cute lead singer that I had a crush on and she was a great singer too. Basically, she was the perfect woman.

When I started to lose interest in ska I also started to lose in Dancehall Crashers, but I have now found someone with a remarkably similar voice. Mariko Doi is now the lead singer of Parakeet which isn’t a supergroup since the other bands the three members come from aren’t exactly gigantic, but it’s in the same vein. The aforementioned Doi was formerly in Yuck, James Thomas was in The History of Apple Pie (perhaps the worst name for a band ever, but sounds great when you’re stoned) and Jon Jackson (not sure if he’s related to Joe, Michael or Reggie).

Their self-released debut EP is out and it’s really quite good if you like melodic, hypnotizing vocals with a fuzzy distorted guitar sound. I happen to love all of that so it goes over well with me. There’s no denying that the band is still raw, but this British import could definitely make waves if they ever find their way across the pond. The six song EP, entitled Shonen Hearts, is awash in melodies and distinct vocals that I hadn’t heard in almost 20 years. If you think about Parakeet in terms of who they sound like it’s kind of emblematic of late Pixies stuff if Kim Deal sang more.

The physical release comes out on a limited edition gold cassette November 19th on Rough Trade, which is great if you either live in 1985 or you have a tape player still. Otherwise, you can pick it up (and you should) at Bandcamp right now.

Best Song: Shonen Hearts – This song has a sound that to me has everything this band could become. Great vocals (though slightly muddled), fast drum beats and a solid distorted guitar sound that really moves the song.

Worst Song: She Wants to Eat Meat – This song is the complete antithesis of the other one. This has everything that could lead to the band’s dissolution. Chaotic, all over the place and very unpleasant to listen to.


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