Little known instrumental band from the the Isle of Green, Parhelia blesses us with their third effort, Shifting Sands. Now, what's immediately notable about this band is the crisp, tight and powerful tunes that methodically chug along until you realize that there are no vocals! I am serious! It took me three listens before I was cognizant of the fact that there was nobody singing. That is a testament to their ability to craft tunes that are interesting enough that the missing vocal becomes an aural element of their sound.
The lead track, "Our Ship Has Sailed." features lilting guitar patterns that soothe and invite. The sound is somewhat reminiscent of U2's The Edge and his "echoey" guitar sound, but infinitely more appealing. The tune reaches climax with power chords aflurry with a beautiful retard out. The title track is my favorite with multi layered guitarwork that resonate off each other. The atonal bending is outstanding and is augmented by exacting bass arpeggios. The track "Pacific" takes a slight turn into a more jazzy post rock vein. Great rhythm and interplay between the two main themes of the piece. "Time and Tide" is my second favorite track as the acoustic flavor brings variety to the party. I especially like the bass and drums use of well planned space that help to keep things loose but yet bound. Again, a fantastic climax and retard ensue here for a wonderful payoff.
Parhelia may not get to their pinnacle of super rockstar status, but I don't think they want to. It is obvious to me they are committed to their musical vision without being influenced by an industry agenda. They are certainly a "post rock" band but with tasty prog roots and innovative sensibilities.
1. Our Ship Has Sailed
2. Perpetual Moon
3. Shifting Sands
6. Time and Tide