The Parlor's "Serpentine" Is Comforting Yet Bittersweet
The Parlor is made up of husband and wife Eric Krans and Jen O'Connor. Their atmospheric music, somewhat abrasive sound and sweet yet dark melodies create sonic pictures that are part landscapes, part pastorals and part abstract paintings.

The duo's new single "Serpentine" is a highly melodic piece that the band members themselves have described as "sunshiny sandpapery psychedelic love song". Emotionally the song is comforting yet bittersweet, which is exactly what made me come back to it again and again.

The Parlor
Our last LP Kiku, released in 2018, was a deeply personal record about recurring grief and loss. Multiple personal losses, familial deaths, illnesses, and traumas left us bitter. We found that there aren't a lot of people sharing about grief. Our society encourages us to move on, but without ritual, without healing it felt impossible -especially when the losses kept coming. Making art felt like a catharsis, both us and for everyone experiencing similar grief.

But things began to get even gloomier for us while touring on the Kiku record. Playing songs about trauma on a nightly basis, and the grueling nature of tour just sort of wore us down. (Jenn Pelly wrote an incredible piece for Pitchfork that relays a lot of what we experienced). We felt like we were being forced deeper and deeper down a dark tapering claustrophobic tunnel with only a pinhole exit. We decided to quit playing music. We just didn't care anymore. Somewhere along the way hurt feelings threatened to tear us apart and then the pandemic left us alone together and added its own additional sufferings, triggers, and fears.

We decided the only way out was through. And we squeezed through somehow, by sharing our deepest vulnerabilities with each other – thanks to meditative practice, and the quiet of having nothing to do -no obligations or hamster wheels to distract. Just us experiencing the purity of the heaviness and realizing there was wisdom to be found in the depths.

By accepting the seemingly unacceptable we were paradoxically filled with awe and wonder. We found a deepened sense of presence that felt sacred. Living was imbued again with light, love and gratitude. We felt inspired to write music again. This time about the ecstasy of catharsis. The other side of the chasm. We could write about finding ourselves again, and the knowing that it can only come from having survived the darkest stretch of our lives. That's the experience this album captures. Us finding ourselves again. The heart of this album is the enigmatic realization that we are and always have been the universe experiencing itself. Both the dark and bright. We live to see another day with a new sense of how to face fear and darkness with a heart filled with wonder and light.

Serpentine is a sunshiny sandpapery psychedelic love song. The song is an apology. About the impossibility of retracting hurtful statements. About the way insensitive words slither into our psyches and cause us to doubt ourselves, our relationship to each other, and reality itself. "Time's a line // It's serpentine." It has a head and a tail but it doesn't always move forward at the same pace, sometimes it curls around. And when we are triggered by something painful it often swings back around to the first moment in our lives where something hurt us in a similar way. We are reminded of the first time we were hurt and we often respond the same way we did then. We cope reactively, compulsively. Time has seemingly collapsed on itself. We relive our past but in a new way. Time may not repeat itself exactly, but time certainly rhymes. It's serpentine. Like a snake in our ear. Whispering dark secrets. Poems of self questioning. Dripping with the mythic language of the psyche, the night language of our dreams, and pointing us toward the moments in our lives we still need to process in order to slip forward forever freely, unshakeable .

Serpentine is from the forthcoming album You Are Love And I Am You, the fourth LP from The Parlor. You Are Love And I Am You is a psychedelic dream-pop record about the ecstatic realizations associated with what some call the mystical experience, unitive consciousness, or loving presence. It's a shimmering response to The Parlor's most recent Long Player; the 2018 album Kiku which chronicled the experience of grief and loss.

Meant to be listened to as an album, front to back. Loud, with Aaron Smith's artwork in hand. It plays in a loop, like an ouroboros. The cycle of birth and death.