Three years in the making, Entanglements is an album brimming with inventiveness and confidence, and while it is unmistakably a Parenthetical Girls record, it’s unlike anything they’ve done before. Gone are the little songs capturing uncomfortable bedroom moments, to be replaced by pieces like -Gut Symmetries’, chronicling doomed romances with older lovers. Where previously they favoured Xiu Xiu-esque musical confrontation, their grander scale now calls to mind Final Fantasy’s lusher moments.
Singer and songwriter Zac Pennington’s voice sounds more at home than ever, his croon cushioned nicely by the Hollywood musical unfolding around him. Songs lead into each other like a constant narrative, and the entire record, it has to be said, is a surprisingly sexy affair. On -A Song For Ellie Greenwich’ (so good, it should appear here twice) rhythmic brass punctuates a jazzy beat, with a string section that dips and glides along beautifully. This musical tone sits strangely with Pennington’s favourite lyrical tool, using uncomfortable sexual images as a symbol for the fragility of a relationship. His lyrics often hit close to the bone, yet despite his talent for evoking images of ‘fresh stretched post-fuck flesh’ it’s clear that this record is no cautionary statement. Rather, it maintains a reverence for love and lust, though it refuses to pretend that they never mislead us.
There is the occasional overindulgence, where the music is eclipsed by the band’s ambition. But these fleeting moments aside, Entanglements is a triumph, and essential listening for anyone fed up with hopeless romanticism.