Samara Lubelski Parallel Suns

[The Social Registry; 2007]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: folk, free folk, indie psychedelia
Others: Nico, Isobel Campbell, Karen Carpenter, Amy Milan

Lubelski may have been helping out on Thurston Moore's latest solo foray, but that project didn't take one ounce of beauty or energy away from her third album, Parallel Suns. The disc borrows the strongest traits of folk, pop and psychedelia -- subtle guitars, bouncy melodies, and unique instrumental interpretation -- to create a one-of-a-kind blend. Not weighed down by the dizzying amount of choices at her feet, Lubelski is able to filter out any nonsense common in genres from which she cherry picks to give us the beating heart of pop: variety. Lubelski's greatest musical gift is her ability to create a soothing, pastel pop from blends of simple sounds. Her care and depth are apparent as each track unfurls.

Parallel Suns finds its inspirations in nooks and crannies long overlooked amidst the craze of freak-folk and disposable indie-pop. While others grab onto the brass ring of a fad by retracing the footprints of genre-greats, Lubelski shuns cliched attempts at overwrought wordplay and scattered droplets of noise and skronk in favor of bringing a unique, mellow flavor to her music. Earthy '70s pop is alive and well throughout the album, taking the form of ragged folk ("Spirit of the Age"), commercialized pop a la The Carpenters and The Partridge Family ("Have You Seen the Colors"), or hands-in-the-dirt acoustic balladry ("Snowy Meadows II"). Drawing inspiration from the music of the past rather than the music of the moment, Parallel Suns escapes the noise of the here-and-now and finds a more timeless place.

The innocence so palpable in Lubelski's genre-bending is a lost art. While her peers have gone down the road of least resistance by following trends out of indie’s playbook, Lubelski shuns the grim sounds of modern folk and pop to retrace the the kind of light and breezy, pre-punk pop that's so easily forgotten or lost beneath a pile of disco and glam records. Parallel Suns sucks you into a parallel universe of bright sunshine, blossoming fields, and youthful innocence -- scenery not unlike that in Terry Southern’s Candy. It’s alright to leave pretense behind, to just feel free and easy, and few recent albums have done this quite like Parallel Suns.

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