Sound — 8
A couple of years ago, a band from emo-filled New Jersey released an album of straight classic rock. Two years later, said band releases their second album, which is still classic rock at times, but also shows elements of the emo scene they once ran from. What band is it? The Parlor Mob, of course. Their first album, "And You Were A Crow", got them lumped in with bands like Wolfmother, The Sword and Mastodon into a so-called "hipster metal" genre. Quite honestly, The Parlor Mob are nowhere a metal band, but they are definitely rock. Their second album "Dogs" shows the band developing from the initial classic hard rock bombast into a really good rock band. There are a few softer songs on this album, including the chilling "Holding On", and "Slip Through My Hands". Elsewhere, The Parlor Mob get poppy with the song "Practice In Patience", and get Strokes-y on "American Dream". The hard rock power is still present, on the album highlight (and first single) "Into The Sun", the bluesy "Fall Back", and the RATM like "Take What's Mine". The version I have is the special edition, which is well worth it due to the three bonus tracks. Overall, The Parlor Mob are still a classic rock revivalist group, but they have embraced other influences as well. There's a reason iTunes named this as their Rock Album Of The Year in 2011. It's a fantastic album.
Lyrics — 9
At fist listen, the voice of singer Mark Melicia might sound very annoying, and derivative of other high pitched singers like Geddy Lee and that dude from The Mars Volta (I can never pronounce his name, much less type it.) However, if you keep Dogs on, Melicia's voice slowly becomes decent, and then, quite appealing to the ears. To put it simply, he's a dude with an emo whine trying to sing classic rock. While that may sound like a bad combination, it works well. The lyrics he sings range from romantic, to political, etc.
Overall Impression — 9
I never agree with those stupid f--kers at Apple Inc. On anything, but I do agree with them that "Dogs" is one of the best rock albums of 2011. It has something for just about every type of rock fan. Classic rock guitar? Check. Emo whine? Check. Pop-infused ballads? Check. It's simply a great album, and will definitely establish The Parlor Mob as one of the best rock bands out there. They're not mainstream stars, but they're definitely a great band.