Parov Stelar – The Princess
The Princess is the eighth LP from Austrian DJ and producer Parov Stelar. The 28-track album is a concoction of contemporary electronica and electro swing, with each track being saturated in a distinctly Eastern European aesthetic. Despite attempting to form an eclectic mix of tracks, the album’s sophisticated exterior fails to hide the predictable nature of many of the songs.
Album opener Milla’s Dream begins with a solemn piano intro. Cold string samples are coupled with a slow rhythm to create an interesting tone, however the song is slightly repetitive. The Princess develops well; a cold piano intro builds with a moody string section, before being hushed by the great use of dynamics.
A notable highlight on the album is You Got Me There, a groove-centred track built on expressive piano and strings. The song’s occasional drum fills help to regulate the dynamics quite well. The quaint piano track Requiem For Annie resembles the piano work of Yann Tiersen, and is a welcome relief from the album’s more predictable house tracks.
The Beach begins with minimalist piano, and builds with cinematic strings to seem beautifully moody and emotive. However, it is overpowered by a funky bass line and electronic drum beats. This creates a strange contrast of tones which many Parov Stelar fans may enjoy.
True Romance Part 2 is another standout track. Austrian artist Lilja Bloom provides the beautifully delicate vocals on this song, her cold tones mixing with a dark bass rhythm and a catchy chord progression to create one of the most memorable and distinct songs on the album.
Lead single Jimmy’s Gang is a pseudo-jig house track with a distinctly Eastern European flavouring. Essentially a pop track, it encapsulates Stelar’s style of electro swing, however repetitive and predictable it may seem.
At nearly two hours in length, The Princess loses its contagious momentum quite quickly. The album feels rather like an eccentric film score with its repeated motifs and predictable aesthetic. However, fans of Stelar’s style of electro swing will enjoy the album’s decadence. It is evident that the LP struggles to utilises dynamics in certain sections, however this is to be expected from such a take on contemporary electronica. Fans of Stelar’s quirky vibes will enjoy the album’s generally uplifting aesthetic, while others will suggest it lacks artistic depth and purpose.