Now that's done, Maren's first album melded a cold Eurokraut distancing to a more red bloodied flow. A great example is the hard hitting with chirpy vocals title track from "Artificial Gardens".
Ah yes, the vocals. I think I'd prefer her in her guttural first language, there is something even too sweet about her, and too pretty, On "Summer Romance" she sounds like a European Best Coast rather than the more usual Cardigans/Sugarcubes comparison.
The album has a lot to recommend: it has a consistency of approach and a unique sound, but it is also a little off putting. I like it not obsessed with it.
This is what the PR Release has to say: "When San Diego pop songwriter Maren Parusel’s gear was stolen on tour in New York City last year, she took the opportunity to revamp her guitar-driven sound with synths and a new resolve to overcome anything that stood in her way. It’s in this spirit that her sophomore full-length, Tightrope Walker (out June 19 on Requiemme Records/BMG Chrysalis), draws inspiration from two stories of triumph over forces both external and within: Nietzsche’s pivotal novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Man on Wire, a documentary about legendary high-rope walker Philippe Petit, who traversed a line between the World Trade Centers (not far from where Parusel lost her gear) in 1974."
"Metaphorically, life is you walking on a tightrope,” says Parusel, a Tübingen, Germany native whose debut Artificial Gardens (produced by Black Heart Procession’s Pall Jenkins) won Best Pop Album at the 2011 San Diego Music Awards. “You’re balanced on your own rope. You can slip and fall. This album is about believing in yourself rather than looking up to figures. It’s about living your own dream.
"Tightrope Walker, Parusel finds her balance with Christopher Hoffee (Chaos Recorders), whose penchant for analog synthesizers, vintage plug-ins, and programmed beats makes for Parusel’s most polished and danceable collection of dreamy pop anthems to date."
I listened to the title track, and it is really quite good, though if Maren is substituting the guitar heavy first album with a synth drenched/keyboard laden sound, we may come to blows over an entire album. And the smartness, so obvious in the first album is still around.
Her songs are strong enough, the buzz around her loud, she hobnobs with the stars, and she can write a song. If English is her second language it is damn hard to tell, and there is a sophisticated pop ready veneer to her. A just waiting to break. But I remain ambivalent. I am not in love with her voice and sometimes it is all a touch to uber-romance blahblah-y.
One more thing, Tubingen is part of the prosperous, touristy Baden-Württemberg, right in the middle of Germany. That upper middle class background makes Maren less the fish out of water she might first appear to be. I think I'll have to see her live before I can reach a real conclusion… no, not bad at all…