For L.A.-based quartet Parade of Lights, making music is a matter of turning their shared obsessions with distortion-drenched shoegaze, heady synth-pop, and epic stadium rock into a hook-heavy yet deeply inventive alt-electro hybrid. Delivering anthem after anthem, the bands debut album Feeling Electric finds lead vocalist/guitarist Ryan Daly, drummer Anthony Improgo, bassist Randy Schulte, and keyboardist Michelle Ashley channeling both frenetic energy and immaculate precision into songs with a spirit thats bombastic but penetrating, unflinchingly hopeful but rooted in raw feeling.
The follow-up to Parade of Lights 2014 EP Golden, Feeling Electric pushes further into their genre-bending and lavishly layered sound. True to the bands DIY ethosParade of Lights self-identifies as a 360 artist, and executes everything from album art to lyric-video production to web design on their ownDaly and Improgo wrote and self-produced the album, working mainly in Nashvilles Left Plus Right Studio and Grand Victor Sound. And in shaping the Feeling Electrics emotional center, Parade of Lights crafted lyrics with a common theme of conquering self-doubt and embracing an all-out lust for life.
After opening with a hypnotically ethereal intro, Feeling Electric goes full-throttle with its glorious and galvanizing title track and lead single. Driven by a twitchy synth riff and propulsive drumming, Feeling Electric backs Dalys passionately soulful vocal performance with some soaring harmonies from a local gospel choir that the band tracked down while cutting the album in Nashville. From there, Feeling Electric surges on with the swirling guitar tones and pounding tribal beats of Wake Up, the dance-ready grooves of Golden, and the warped and woozy synth of Were the Kids. With its slow-burning intensity and unearthly harmonies, Undefeatable unfolds as a heart-on-sleeve piano ballad charged with starry-eyed drama (Tear me apart/Rip right through the middle/Put the knife in my heart/We are one/Well never stop), while the sinuous and shimmering Cant Have You emerges as a throwback synth-pop masterpiece. And on the gracefully spare and haunting Memory, Feeling Electric closes out with a shift into a darker, melancholy mood thats quietly stunning in effect.
While Feeling Electrics sonic elements draw much inspiration from the wall-of-sound atmospherics of shoegaze and the sophisticated experimentation of outr-leaning electronic music, each track is born from a classically melody-minded and tightly crafted approach to songwriting. What we always aim to do first and foremost is write great songs, says Daly. At the end of the day you should be able to strip a song down to just vocals and acoustic guitar or piano, and it should still hold the same weight as when its all dressed up in cool production.
A near-lifelong musician who started playing guitar at age eight, Daly partners with Improgo in handling songwriting duties for Parade of Lights. Both self-taught in production, the two met in 2006, instantly bonded over their love of the '90s alt-rock act Failure, and quickly recruited Schulte to join them in forming a band they called Polus. But soon after theyd begun amassing a following through their dynamic live shows, Daly suffered an onstage injury that ended up putting Polus out of commission and prompted the group to part ways. Then, in 2010, Daly and Improgo crossed paths and decided to make music together again, this time under the name Parade of Lights. As heard on their 2012 self-released debut EP Born To Live, Born To Love, the duo soon honed in on a fresher sound that minimized traditional rock elements and progressed into more creatively ambitious, electro-centric territory. The following year, Parade of Lights drew Schulte into the fold and started searching for a keyboard player to flesh out their synth-laced arrangements. I was at an outdoor mall, of all places, and happened to see a band with Michelle on keyboard, says Daly. I knew right away that she was the one, and I kept bothering her to join us.
Once the bands final lineup was solidified, Parade of Lights played their first show as the opening act for Fitz and the Tantrums at L.A.s Wiltern Theatre in July 2013. That same summer, the band self-released Were the Kids as a single and soon saw the track added to rotation on SiriusXMs Alt Nation. In addition to achieving top-10 airplay on Alt Nation, Were the Kids turned up on terrestrial radio stations like L.A.s KROQ, the Bay Areas LIVE 105, and Las Vegass KXTE. Record labels then started seeking out the band, and by 2013 Parade of Lights had inked their deal with Astralwerks Records.
Released in March 2014, Parade of Lights Astralwerks debut Golden fast began building buzz, with its title track named a Rolling Stone Download of the Day and featured on NBC promos for the 2014 Winter Olympics and in ESPNs coverage of Super Bowl XLIX. Along with earning acclaim from the likes of Interview (who praised the bands danceable indie rock and alternative electro-anthems), Parade of Lights also graced BuzzFeeds 50 SXSW Acts You Need To Hear list and hit the road with artists like AWOLNATION, Thirty Seconds to Mars, X Ambassadors, Imagine Dragons, and The Neighbourhoodall while dreaming up their full-length debut.
In bringing Feeling Electric to life, Parade of Lights made the uncommon decision to focus on just one song at a time, fully constructing each intricately textured track before moving on to the next. Working that way lets us play with the songs as we go rather than getting locked into an arrangement, says Daly. It allows us to have a lot more freedom. Such freedom is key for Parade of Lights, who consider their hands-on approach to all facets of music-making essential to the bands vitality. Since we do everything ourselves, we can realize our vision in a way that wed never be able to if we were more dependent on other people to make things happen, says Daly. Everythings coming right from our brain, everything has the same vibe, and were able to create a whole world for this band and our music to exist in. And with their rare synergy of pop magnetism and edgy artistry, that commitment to creative autonomys already more than proven Parade of Lights to be a band to watch closely as they keep on building bigger, brighter, and bolder sounds.