Algernon Cadwallader- Parrot Flies

Be Happy!

For those too young to remember when emo wasn’t a pejorative term — OK it was always a dirty word — consider Algernon Cadwallader as an ambassador to the genre’s under-loved second wave. But while debut LP Some Kind of Cadwallader and the Fun EP garnered nods to ’90s genre giant Cap’n Jazz the Philadelphia trio never fell into rote Makeoutclub revivalism: The math rock noodling and twee squeakiness wooed listeners but the ability to sculpt a balls-out pop anthem — handclaps kazoo glockenspiel and all — invited repeated listens.

Quite surprisingly Parrot Flies drops Algernon’s Cadwallader overt anthemic penchant — but thankfully it’s not for the worse. Instead Algernon Cadwallader adds subtleties to its arsenal: “Springing Leaks” ferociously opening with the band’s familiar dexterity fades to a slacker finish recalling the breezy bounce of Pavement’s “Summer Babe.” “Parrot Flies” and “If It Kills Me” swap math-rock precision for J. Mascis’ fuzz-tone freneticism; “Sad” meanwhile showcases a previously unheard muscular rhythm section and “Chewed Up” throws surf guitars into the mix. Cap’n Jazz this ain’t.

Still Parrot Flies isn’t a reinvention nor does it feel like the peak of the band’s parabola. Still Algernon Cadwallader’s subtle evolution feel natural and for a band lauded for its retro appeal it’s an indicator that the band is looking to the future not the past.