Dana Halferty is the singing/songwriting centerpiece of the Des Moines-based Parlours, a band that tiptoes on the fine line between gauzy, shoe-gazing alt-pop and the more orchestral ornaments of delicate chamber (or is that parlour) pop. What makes their impressive full-length debut All Is Here, out digitally today, truly rise above the crowded and competitive fray is the quality of Halferty's melody-driven songcraft and her gentle, light-as-air vocals. The come on is subtle and sweet, the mood warm and sultry, recalling a style reminiscent of 10,000 Maniacs, Mazzy Star and the latest crop of Ingrid-Michaelson-schooled introspective female folk/poppers glimpsed through the rosy haze of 4AD lenses. At times, as on the lofty "Dreamers" or "Stay With You", the sound is a densely layered throwback to 80's anthems bursting with chiming guitar lines and a synth-pop beat. But there are also plenty of moments -- as on opener "Love Me Good" -- where ukulele strums, a twisty, tasty chorus hook and shimmering production transport the listener on gossamer wings. One of the nicest surprises of the year.
Parlours - "Stay With You" (from All Is Here)
Parlours - "Dreamers" (from the album All Is Here)