The latest album from Nashville-based Alternative Rock band The Cancellations, called Pity Parade, is a long and interesting record. It’s not easy to have tracks that stand out in the middle of a record this long, but The Cancellations managed to pull that off pretty well. Let’s dig deep into this album and see what it’s all about.
The album starts with the track “Verse and a Chorus” which reeks of jazz inspiration. The timed rimshots played by the drummer Nicholas Ferell add to this jazzy feeling too, but near the end, Erik Matthijs plays heavier guitars and more powerful drums salute them. It fades into the second track “Born To Break My Heart” which is funkier and has modern-era Paramore vibes. For the first of many instances, we can hear a sampled clap/snap sound with the percussion. After that “Beauty Queen” has special drum arrangements that are slightly heavier and an upbeat mood.
Tracks 3 to 5 are mid-tempo and really feel like they all have the same beach party mood. The sixth track Schizophrenic Blues reminds me of pop-punk and pop rock in the late 90s and early 2000s and it’s one of the standout tracks for me. The seventh, and shortest track on the album, “Smack Me in the Face” utilizes a synth and has a jiggly bassline played by Mr. Jared Wuestenberg. The track “We Are Not Alone” reminded me of Maroon 5’s famous hit Moves Like Jagger, due to having the same dance-y arrangement.
The 9th Track “Party Girl” has a nice lead line played by the synth, followed by the 10th track “Here Comes The Sunshine” which was my favourite from the whole album. The sheer amount of vocal control that Elijah Jones has in this track reminded me of Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys. The eleventh and twelfth tracks “Something Borrowed” and “Secret Path” are both slow ballads which make use of a piano for some of the lead lines. But the final track Digital Cage changed the overall mood of the album and used an electronic/industrial beat, that’s more common in RnB or Hip-Hop. In the middle of these industrial sounds and samples, a fast-paced heavy guitar and drum section that was so explosive in the middle of such a tame track.
To sum it all up, the power of play-safe/conventional Alternative Rock reigns supreme over the funk and jazz experimentation in this thirteen-track-long record. Any slight deviation towards one of these elements more than the other would’ve eliminated the enjoyment of this balance between genres that Pity Parade is. I wanted to hear more remarkable tracks from the album, but it was still solid and had a lot of substance to it nonetheless. I’m looking forward to seeing which of these tracks will make it to the live setlist of the band and which ones will resonate with the fans.