I can't recall the first time I read the name Rykarda Parasol in the pages of San Francisco's various music publications. Amongst the many names which have graced club marquees and promotional material over the years, her name stood out. Perhaps it's the word "parasol" that nabbed my attention. I checked out her music and I was all in. Back then, I recall Rykarda branding her sound as "Rock Noir". I never gave it much thought. I liked the branding aspect. In retrospect, I should have asked about the meaning behind the branding. Today with her new album Tuesday Morning, we get an answer to that question.
Rykarda mentions her music's evolution as a steady progression that flowed from dark to light. I took a quick listen to some of her earlier work before playing her new album. In my opinion, her earlier work carries a bit of an underlying sadness. The somber moments in Tuesday Morning are handled with a calm that comes from experience.
Perfect example is 'Darwin's Little Darling'. Rykarda shines a light on life's hard facts with the same type of soft loving touch a mother uses when teaching her adolescent children. She sings " I don't do anyone a favor, by turning away from strange behaviors". There are various elements that make this track extraordinary. A nuanced Gregorian chant vocal quality creates a pillowy bed for the reverb laden slide guitar notes to lay. Adding muscle, piano keys and a strummed guitar move the music forward, one step at a time like an ox pulling medieval stones.
Before Rykarda's new album officially debuted, she released 'Get Down With Your Bad Self'. The single and its corresponding music video capture the essence of the album's direction. All of the songs featured have an early 60's San Francisco vibe that falls somewhere between Haight-Ashbury and Dick Clark's rock n roll era incased in indie rock. The music video absolutely has that retro, proper, buttoned up theme a'la Nirvana's 'In Bloom' video. If you haven't seen the video, it's a must see and it's included below. See how much we love you…
Ending things with a bang is the albums final track 'Above It All'. While the rhythm guitar drives, the organ's counter melody adds color and body. Rykarda's vocals ride the musical wave like a water skier at Lake Havasu. Of all of the music components and parts, it's the big backing vocals in the chorus that hit the hardest. When this song is played live, those big chorus lines provide the opportunity for crowd participation. Rock n roll lives on.
From strolling down foggy San Francisco streets to Parisian soil, Rykarda Parasol continues her musical voyage. Moving to Paris brought new experiences. We seldom take into account how the energy of a new environment can reshape how we see ourselves today and tomorrow. I'm not sure how/if the journey overseas affected Rykarda's musical evolution. Only she can answer that. I am sure of one thing, Rykarda writes from the heart. Creating music that stands the test of time is what Rykarda Parasol is all about.
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