Tightrope Walker

Maren Parusel

Requiemme Records, 2012


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


San Diego by way of Tubingen. Germany may not be a seemingly easy transition for an aspiring singer-songwriter, but Maren Parusel has had pretty good success with it. Luck, however, hasn't exactly been on her side. While on tour in New York last year, all her equipment was stolen, which may have actually been a blessing in disguise as it led to Parusel's exploration into other sounds. Though Tightrope Walker is her sophomore album, it's a reinvention as she takes her guitar-driven sound and supplements it with flirty elements of electronica.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This is a very deep, reflective listen. The origin of the title stems from a Nietzsche novel as well as a documentary about high-rope walker Philippe Petit. On a more personal level, Parusel states the title relates to everyone. The way she sees it life is a balancing act, where we constantly teeter on the brink of tragedy and triumph, much like Petit walking a line between the World Trade Center.

Tightrope Walker begins with a blur of buzzing guitars, quick-paced synth, and a flow of endless melodies. The disc opener and title track lays the groundwork with lush and dynamic pop dynamics, the following tracks running a similar course.  By “Morning Belongs To The Birds,” the pace slows, the volume dropped and Parusel's unique voice is illuminated. It's a maudlin moment on the album, a     perfect, sweet pop moment. It's important to note that while well thought out lyrics are everywhere here, so are a lot of  'woah-oh-ohs' and other vocals sounds that aren't actually words. While that may grow tiring on some records, it's not hard to find yourself infatuated with Parusel's delivery and it never overstays its welcome.

Her newfound interest in synths is displayed well on “Silver Dream,” an upbeat rocker with plenty of video game-esque noises in the background, and on “Nothing Left But You,” the synth work becomes extremely detailed behind the breathy vocals. Though the first half here takes nods at '90s alt rock, the second half becomes a more textured affair, with a barrage of tones coming out in her work.

This is an album with a throwback feeling due to the analog synth and vintage plug-ins, yet it also has modern guitar work and danceable, pop spirit. Parusel succeeds in providing dreamy yet danceable gems. Her delicate, youthful vocals complement the reverb heavy guitars and playful keys well, and adding in the rock and pop meshing make this one the total package.

Rating: A

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Requiemme Records, and is used for informational purposes only.