Release Date: Jun 17, 2016
Record label: Heist or Hit
There's a deep and genuine respect for the 1970s apparent on Still Parade's latest offering. That Niklas Kramer does away with the pristine production of previous release Fields here in favour of a coarser, tape recorder sound isn't to put the musical equivalent of the Instagram "Nashville" filter over something modern in an attempt to garner nostalgia; rather, it's all part of a larger aesthetic that leans closer to the bright AM pop of Todd Rundgren than the lush arrangements of chillwave contemporaries like Washed Out. It's in the soft grooves of "Walk in the Park" and the tinges of psychedelia in the phaser-heavy guitars lining "7:41," cut straight from the likes of Pink Floyd's Dark Side instrumental "Any Colour You Like," which tether Kramer's debut LP to a decade long passed.
Berlin is home to the Ramones Museum, hosts its fair share of metal bands, and is famous the world over for its brand of techno. Spread atop topography defined more by striking architecture than by the lay of the land, the city seems an unlikely place for the lingering effects of California’s Laurel Canyon scene of the ‘60s and ‘70s to have a meaningful impact. Yet, these are the influences – Todd Rundgren, Crosby, Stills & Nash – that Still Parade’s Niklas Kramer readily absorbs into his calm, kosmische-kissed bedroom pop.
A little dash of summer and a lot of the Lips is in evidence on Still Parade's debut long player. Like an amalgamation of the philosophical stylings of Wayne Coyne and Richard Linklater, Niklas Kramer weaves loose, summery pop that sometimes leans towards the formulaic. His phrasing, the doddery basslines and hazy synths all land squarely on the beat throughout a homogeneous, satisfying collection of sugary psych, but that's not to say the album isn't without promise.