Review: Chancellorpink – Valentine Parade

It’s no surprise to learn that Chancellorpink’s ‘Valentine Parade’ was released to coincide with Valentine’s Day. However, this is a dark, lovelorn affair rather than a record of swooning romanticism. The man behind the idea is Pittsburgh’s Raymond G. McLaughlin; owner of a deep croon that ensures this love album stays on the melancholic side. He also writes, plays keyboards, bass, electric and acoustic guitars and produces the whole shebang. It’s very impressive too although I can’t help hoping that McLaughlin cheers up a bit for Easter. 

Chancellorpink CD Cover

“Out of all your male friends, you like me the least” is just one of the self-pitying lines uttered on the typically bitter ‘Red Wedding Dress’. The perfect moment is reached for ‘Mrs. Kowalski’ where McLaughin’s yearning vocals are balanced against rattlingly intense guitars. It’s a terrific song by anyone’s standards. Opener ‘Unfinished Valentine’ and ‘Baby’s Gone To Bible’ are also fine alternative pop songs, fired this time by electronica. ‘The Red Sea’, though, is an adventure into experimentalism that lacks the fluency of his other material but it’s a rare false step as ‘She Came In Dreams’ veers towards glam rock and ‘I Tear Window Down’ sees McLaughlin cleverly harmonise with himself.

There’s a good range of musical styles (not to mention voices) which McLaughlin employs, as befits a man who – to paraphrase his own mission statement – plans to record an album every year until he dies or becomes boring. So provided he stays healthy, we could be hearing a lot more from him yet.

Web Sites:
Chancellor Pink Official Site

Further Listening: 
Pony Club, Pulp

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