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Parallel Lives

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Album Review

Gates' sophomore full-length album, 2016's Parallel Lives, finds the emotive New Jersey outfit digging even deeper into a sweeping, atmospheric rock palette. Essentially, the album picks up where 2014's Bloom & Breathe left off, with a handful of widescreen, guitar-based anthems that showcase lead singer/guitarist and songwriter Kevin Dye's angelic, breathy croon. A hard band to pin down, Gates have a style that seems to straddle the line between more aggressive acts like Manchester Orchestra and introspective indie favorites like Red House Painters. That said, for an ambient-leaning rock outfit, there isn't anything overtly experimental going on with Parallel Lives. Even at their most diffuse, Gates wouldn't sound out of place next to bands like Paramore and Anberlin. Cuts like the glowing "Forget" and the windswept "Color Worn" often work best in terms of mood-setting as Gates take hold of the listener's emotional core, slowly tightening their grip over the course of the song. It's an approach that works particularly well when they marry their oceanic rock gaze to more crisply attenuated guitar and drum riffs, as they do on the malevolently yearning "Eyes." Built around a kinetic low-end guitar lick and an off-kilter drum line that sounds like something the Cure might have done in the '80s, the track bursts skyward at the chorus, with Dye singing as if he's being lifted toward heaven. It's a cathartic, heart-pounding moment and one of the best examples of how Gates are able sweep you up in the aching beauty of their sound. Thankfully, while much of the album is colored in dark hues, there's a wistful romanticism at the heart of many of Gates' songs. Even a poignant track like "Empty Canvas" seems to imply something more transcendent and hopeful at the center of the sadness. Dye sings "You draw your hands across an empty canvas/Your fingers paint a scene so dull and lifeless/And all the color warmth from me is pointless/'Cuz all you'll ever be is black and white," and "Now I am always with you, even if you didn't want to reframe my work of art."

Customer Reviews

Ambient goodness

These guys keep getting better and better. I thought it would be impossible for them to get better after Bloom & Breathe but Parallel Lives shows their growth as a band and it's just as good. One of the best albums to come out this year for sure.

The go to...

I'm surprised this band doesn't get more pub. I own a lot of music across many different genres - and this album is simply my go to. I can listen to every song, the entire album through...anytime, anywhere. Excellent.


Genre: Rock

Years Active:

Based out of the bustling New Jersey music/college town of New Brunswick, alternately soaring and hard-hitting post-rock five-piece Gates formed in 2011 around the talents of guitarist Dan King, bassist Mike Maroney, Daniel Crapanzano, guitarist Ethan Koozer, and guitarist/vocalist Kevin Dye. Employing a heady blend of math-tinged post-hardcore, indie rock, ambient pop, and emo, the group issued a pair of EPs (The Sun Will Rise and Lead Me Home [2011] and You Are All You Have Left to Fear [2013])...
Full Bio
Parallel Lives, Gates
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Customer Ratings