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Quiet Parade – Old Haunts EP

on March 29, 2013, 12:00am

Canadian quintet Quiet Parade make the type of music that’s prone to overzealousness, but that fact isn’t lost on them. “Bleeding heart pop-rock” is how they describe themselves in their Twitter bio.

Nailed it. Their frontman, Trevor Murphy, has a consistent singing voice fit for living room sessions. It’s soft and serviceable, which catapults the standard verse-bridge-chorus songs and recycled major-key progressions. If a good hook is a pop-rock staple, then so is over-stating the obvious, which Quiet Parade do time and again: “How come you never call? / How come you never write?” (“How Come You Never Call (or Write)?”)

Murphy’s pop-rock patriotism extends beyond his Twitter account, too. The five songs on his band’s new EP, Old Haunts, never lose control of themselves. They remain lovely, understated and focused on their adept melodies that extol a drunken-swoon affect. The songs are good, the arrangements are what you’d expect, but their restraint is what’s especially commendable here. Sure, “bleeding heart pop-rock” will always conjure some bitter images of certain embarrassingly over-animated radio mainstays, and Quiet Parade openly share a ballpark with some of those groups. But on Old Haunts, Quiet Parade demonstrate that they’re just as fit for sharing a bill with, say, Belle & Sebastian as they are for a Starbucks endorsement.

“Ghosts”, the EP’s opener and strongest track, builds around a negligible lift from “Born to Run”’s iconic four-note lick. Amid light piano adornment, Murphy offers up familiar professions including: “I’d take it back if I had that chance / I’d learn to be a much better man,” but with a curbed composure that keeps the sentiment grounded and real. Self-awareness is this band’s face-saving grace. Unfortunately, that resistance to embrace sugar-coating is what could stand between them and a strong radio presence – their sound isn’t too far off of Top 40 regulars like Snow Patrol or Goo Goo Dolls – but humility suits them just fine.

Essential Tracks: “Ghosts”

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