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Parade Ground - Cut Up [Other Voices Records - 2016]

Parade Ground, the pioneers of Belgian cold wave and EBM, was the brainchild of two brothers Jean-Marc and Pierre Pauly in 1981. After a few maxi-singles released between 1983-1987, Cut Up (originally released on PIAS in 1988) was the band's mighty and wonderful full length debut and represents their "synth period". A genius pop music of 80s underground that pierces your soul.

Beginning with the excellent “Hollywood” this album immediately transports you back to the late 80’s and you are lost in a whirl of superb synths, vocals and drum machines. There is something beautifully innocent about their sound and yet you can hear Parade Ground were accomplished in their songs. Well, they actually HAD songs, it wasn’t just about the synths as “Modern Hunting”, track two, shows. From the chorused bass to the heavily reverbed drum machine the track sounds far more rounded and has a depth that bands like Pet Shop Boys (whose sound still sounds thin to me!) just didn’t achieve.

“Moist Hands” is a perfect example of Parade Grounds use of guitars with synths. there’s an icyness to the track that belies the bass and synths – it’s Cold Wave before that had really been given that label. Parade Grounds’ trade mark chorused vocals holding everything together as the track wends its way through its 4 and ½ minutes.

Each track on this album stands alone in it’s own right, there isn’t one filler. Together though these 10 tracks make this album a masterpiece of 1988, and it’s not lost any of its potency nearly 30 years later. Forget Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Drop the idea that the late 80’s was the birth and onset of manufactured cheap pop music, and listen to Cut Up for there lies a wealth and variety of songs that should have had Parade Ground on the radio in every house.

And that’s a rather sad point, unlike Dutch counterparts Clan Of Xymox, Parade Ground never seemed to really garner the success or media presence they deserved. Even when they collaborated with members of Front 242, they were never really embraced by the EBM scene. They dallied with a more dance style, but were never really taken to peoples hearts for that genre either. This reissue of Cut Up, from their synth period, serves to prove they had a rare a talent and pushes forward the sheer brilliance of these two brothers who are still writing and performing now

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Adam Skyes
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