Rykarda Parasol: Our Hearts First Meet

Rykarda Parasol is a modern day Marlene Deitrich. With a resonate vocal depth that rivals Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano and a bluesy Gothic cabaret style that calls to mind the murder ballads of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Rykarda’s Our Hearts First Meet is a dark and haunting rock noir masterpiece. Parasol has shared the stage with Frank Black, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Kristen Hersh‘s 50 Foot Wave, Jolie Holland, and the aforementioned Johnette Napolitano. Concrete Blonde has long been one of my favourite bands, and it’s almost unnerving how much Parasol’s husky, detached voice sounds like Napolitano.

The moody “Hannah Leah” creeps in with a languid guitar strum beneath Rykarda’s rich voice before unleashing a choir of ghostly wails. “Arrival, A Rival” is another highlight with a sparse tumbleweed guitar twang churning with elegant piano into an eerie crescendo that would do Siouxsie Sioux & The Banshees proud.

“Night on Red River” kicks up the rock rhythm for a wailing PJ Harvey sound, while songs like “Lullaby for Blacktail” and “Candy Gold” barely lighten the mood with swaying and swaggering beats.

Parasol’s lyrics are poetic, ominous, and often morbid. The funeral of a friend in “En Route” and the racial violence of the Langston Hughes inspired “Lonesome Place” each paint a vivid portrait of death. But it’s Rykarda’s slinky, smokey voice that holds you captive, particularly when she plays the love-scorned narrator of “How Does A Woman Fall?” and the world-weary traveller in “Texas Midnight Radio”.

Rykarda Parasol – Hannah Leah (mp3)
Rykarda Parasol – Lullaby for Blacktail (mp3)

Rykarda Parasol Official Site
Rykarda on MySpace

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One thought on “Rykarda Parasol: Our Hearts First Meet

  1. I’m so glad you liked. She does sound eerily like Johnette, no? I’ve had the record for a while and can’t stop listening to it. Thanks for featuring Ms. Parasol, whom everyone should know.

    And speaking of Johnette, I’m quite curious about the new solo record.

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