Regarding the new release from Chattanooga outfit Parking Lots, the band (or person … I’m actually not quite sure) explains that “Je M’Ennuie de la Vie” is a “post-folk conceptual album about the hardships of 21st-century life.” And while that description seems calamitously complex, the results speak to the communal musical associations we share with one another. It’s not just the darkness and troubles that we share—it’s the desire to rise above and mold our lives into something worthy of our own aspirations.
Built from droning guitar notes, spoken-word passages and a bevy of found sound samples, these five tracks reveal an unhurried but often-embattled perspective on how the world attempts to drown out individual thought and action, and how we often relinquish our own momentum to the convenience of everyday life. The music is minimal, with sounds aligning and then clashing with little consequence or direction. But it’s in this disparity that the record finds a certain power and emotional resonance.
As Parking Lots’ Bandcamp page explains, “The five songs—each presenting a different difficulty—are separated into three movements: ‘Movement 1: Early Morning Road,’ ‘Movement 2: Silent Stampede in My Ears’ and ‘Movement 3: Coup de Grâce TV.'” And through these “movements,” the weight of the music is laid out in a simple and evocative fashion, with guitar strings being bent and held taut while multiple voices circle in the background.
Each track creates and maintains a hypnotic atmosphere where even the smallest echo is of special importance. You eventually get the feeling that the notes are being slightly warped, slightly twisted under gentle pressure. It’s curious and produces a subtle but present anxiety, and provides a fascinating example of what can be accomplished through simple means and grand ambitions. It’s difficult to adequately describe how these sounds build to exert such a potent persuasion—it’s better just to experience them and hear their formidable influence for yourself.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.