Sound — 9
And You Were A Crow is the debut album of The Parlor Mob, a rock band from New Jersey. It was released on March 11, 2008 on Roadrunner Records. The sound of this album is straightforward hard rock with some blues and progressive influences. The band is a real throwback to classic rock of the '60s and '70s, reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and similar bands, full of great riffs, pounding drums, and fronted by a singer who can seriously wail. There are also some great slower songs and a couple of awesome blues jams. Here's a song-by-song breakdown: 01.Hard Times: this is a great opener. A quick drum fill leads into an awesome riff, one of my favorites on the album. The song doesn't let up, and vocalist Mark Melicia brings out a great performance. Great rocking song and a good introduction to the band. 10/10 02.Dead Wrong: this song has a slightly metallish vibe to it. I'd say it's the most "headbangable" song on here. One of the things that strikes me about this song is that I can hear the bass, and it doesn't just play the root notes for the whole song. 9/10 03.Everything You're Breathing For: the first slow song on this album. The verse and chorus riffs are really cool, and Melicia turns in another great vocal performance. It seems repetitive, but about two thirds of the way in, the band breaks out into a great bridge with a harmony guitar part. 10/10 04.The Kids: the opening uses a very cool effect on the guitar. This is another straightforward rocking song, but with the first real solo on the album. The solo also uses some cool effects, and is pretty basic (read: bluesy pentatonics), but awesome sounding. 8/10 05.When I Was an Orphan: an acoustic guitar-driven ballad with great singing. Partway through, the electric instruments come in and the song starts rocking, keeping it from getting boring. You can start to hear the progressive elements of this band come through. 9/10 06.Angry Young Girl: another acoustic driven ballad with prog elements. This one's pretty forgettable, but it has its moments. 7/10 07.Carnival of Crows: I love this song. They justrock. A great uptempo song with awesome riffs and vocals. It's a simple, effective hard rock song that makes me think of Led Zeppelin. This is probably my favorite song on the album. 10/10 08.Real Hard Headed: another rocking song, but not really a standout, especially coming right after Carnival of Crows. It has a little harmonica in it, but I wish they had used that more; it fits in well. 8/10 09.Tide of Tears: this is a long, slow, blues jam. Craploads of solos show that these guitarists can really play. They don't really get to tear it up that much throughout the album, so this is really great to have.10/10 10.My Favorite Heart to Break: this is a pretty good midtempo song. Some nice guitar parts and a very good chorus. 8.5/10 11.Bullet: a very good uptempo song. This straight-up rocking song feels to me like they've come to the end of a live show and are going out with a bang.9/10 12.Can't Keep No Good Boy Down: if Bullet was the end of a show, then this song is the band jamming backstage after the show. this is just a loose acoustic blues jam. Great singing, and some nice slide guitar. It's got a different feel than the rest of the songs and shows this band's roots in the blues.
Lyrics — 10
I think you may have gathered this by know, but I absolutely love Mark Melicia's vocals. He sounds a little bit like Robert Plant or that dude with the Jewfro from Wolfmother. He can hit some pretty high notes, and really seems to be putting his all into the vocals. By the end of some of the songs, he seems to be absolutely screaming his lines, but still stays melodic. The lyrics here are pretty standard rock fare: love, badassery, hard living, a little politics, and, um... crows. There are some pretty clever lines in here and choruses that will stick in your head. Honestly, he could be singing the prone book and it would sound good.
Overall Impression — 9
And You Were A Crow is a real breath of fresh air in today's music world. Not a lot of recent bands have been playing this throwback style of music. It's nice to hear this kind of blues-based hard rock from a new band now that so many of our favorite classic rockers, like Zeppelin, aren't going to be giving us any new music anytime soon. For those who don't feel like buying the whole album, I would recommend Hard Times, Everything You're Breathing For, Carnival of Crows, Tide of Tears, Bullet, and Can't Keep No Good Boy Down. If someone stole this album from me, I would be pissed, and go buy a new copy, since in my opinion, this is the best album of 2008.