In an interview by Jesse Taconelli on RateYourMusic with Parannoul, the anonymous artist was asked to explain the cover art of his second album. The album, To See the Next Part of the Dream, has quickly gained an underground cult following since its release at the end of February of this year. He replies, “It's actually one of the scenes from All About Lily Chou-Chou. It's not an important scene at all, it's just a scene that lasts five seconds...But for some reason, the smokestack and the white smoke made me feel nostalgic …. I wanted to show the clean yet dirty side of youth through this smokestack. The little birds above the smoke show the mind of the teenager that wanted to be free. ” (Taconelli, Sonemic Interview: Parannoul) And there’s not much better that explains the premise behind this dark concept album. It revolves around someone who is an adult, but still has the mind and hope of a child. It goes through the journey of them coming to terms with their adulthood and reality as a whole, trying to fight lies they’ve told themselves for years and years.
In the same interview, Parannoul says that not even their parents know about their music career, and to avoid them knowing, every instrument on the album was a VSTi. The only aspect of it that was recorded live were the vocals using an old Galaxy 5 smartphone. This method of recording and production is the only lo-fi element about the project, but that single detail really adds to how it all feels. Normally I wouldn’t really bring all of this up, but the background behind this album directly contributes and gives it a unique edge and texture that compliments the themes.
Right off the bat, I want to talk about the first track “Beautiful World” which sets the tone for the rest of the album. Something that becomes apparent throughout the project is how Parannoul combines sludgy, thick, peaking guitars and drums with clear as crystal harmonies and melodies, only further pushing the idea of showing the “clean yet dirty side of youth” they mention earlier. The mix of shoegaze and emo combine like cookies and cream or peanut butter and jelly. It's a match made in heaven, especially when combined with the lyrics and vocals that are rough and messy and compliment everything. Just in the first song alone, there are references to being trapped in a world that doesn’t really exist and not being able to accept the reality of life around them. Lyrically, it ends with what I can only call a musical confession, saying they’d wish that nobody would’ve seen them, their failures, and their youth.
Another highlight is the 10 minute long epic “White Ceiling”, a song that discusses the frustrations of a boring, uninteresting reality which the character has to come to terms with. The initial use of clocks and alarms at the beginning might seem pretty heavy handed with lyrics about waking up in the same old room everyday, but their re-introduction at the end while the song is still full of energy feels like waking up from a dream you loved. Really amazing.
Although the ameature vocals might put some people off and it might not be breaking down boundaries single handedly for the genre, the more subtle details behind its production and recording make it unique in its field. It’s a raw, emotional and consistently beautiful album that definitely deserves the attention it’s getting from fans online, and I highly recommend anyone check it out if you’re into any kind of emo or indie music.