Random Parade
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Random Parade

Irvine, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Irvine, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Alternative Post-punk





There’s a real ephemeral quality to The Void Above by SoCal act Random Parade. It’s the kind of release that hits harder when you’ve got the life experience that stings with laser-sharp accuracy. Even if you haven’t had your heartbroken which feels like a running theme on the EP, there’s a textural sense of nostalgia that sticks to each song as they run in very extended cycles, each nearly 5 minutes or over, and at first I thought maybe they might overstay their welcome as I feel like mastering the long-form piece can be tricky if not executed well and with a lot of preplanned thought, but the end result you feel submerged in the palpable emotions coming from a beautiful baritone voice that feels as though you can feel the drop in your heart.

The band has a knack for incredibly memorable lines and hooks like “don’t follow me, it’s just my MERCURY in retrograde” is just brilliant especially the kind of smooth swerve he pulls with the word mercury. Across each of the four tracks, there’s an element that allows each song to stick out despite covering familiar ground from track to track. The opener “We Are Still” which sounds like a missing Richard Hawley B-side has a female backing vocal that almost sounds ghostly in its sonic presentation as the band makes the lyric “right here, we are still” have ambiguity at first presenting it as though despite the fear of a romantic relationship, if we slow down and live in this moment, we’ll be okay, Then the band breaks your heart further with the follow-up line “you’re still running from my arms.”

Sometimes there are particular elements to a record that can be hard to describe until you listen to it, akin to something like synesthesia. To me, this album feels like fall, the changing of the seasons where you and everyone around you take stock of what’s around you, and sometimes a painful change needs to be made. I can’t help but feel Random Parade may feel the same way with their evocative lyrics like “walls coming down like a crashing monsoon” and I really need to reiterate that the hooks in these tracks are just bloody brilliant not only in their imagery but with its delivery. Production-wise, it’s pristine and memorable, from the aforementioned female backing in the opening to the eclectic synth accompaniment that’s so subtle on the track Startrails with its early 2000s-like sound, especially in the bass.

“My eyes so red, my soul so black” is just another example of the potent memorability each song carries. Startrails even ends with this jarring prolonged ringing that at some point even feels like the tail of a comet, pushing through a sea of scarred stars. Random Parade should feel incredibly proud of themselves for delivering such a memorable experience that I can’t recommend enough. It has a sound rooted in the past with songs covering feelings of a time now backward as we have to go painfully forward and that’s something that you’ll never be able to run away from but float across like a beautiful star trail.

John McCall - Too Much Love


The crisp beat of “Start & End,” quickly comes bolting out of the darkness with a thunderous stomp that will swell on occasion throughout the next forty-nine minutes of play, its initial introduction setting the mood for all that will transpire in Random Parade’s The Sad Charade. “Start & End” isn’t the only song getting physical with us here – it’s followed by “Sad Charade” and “Slip Into a Spell,” both of which will spend their duration hitting us with everything this band can muster inside of four increasingly claustrophobic studio walls. The Sad Charade might have been released in 2010, but in my opinion, it could qualify as one of the best records out in 2020 had it been cut this year.

“Daydream” wastes no time washing out the silence with a thick band of guitar distortion that will be pushed and shoved into a melody by the time we hit the :20 mark in the song. This tracklist has a remarkable fluidity that keeps the music rolling from one composition to the next seamlessly, but I wouldn’t describe any part of the aesthetic here as being overly conceptual or progressive-minded. Random Parade are quite the artistic group of rockers – they proves that with material like “No. 1 Crush” and the brilliant “Holy Water” – but they’re far from the self-righteous ‘artsy’ types that have coopted a fair chunk of post-punk revival into their neo-hipster nonsense in the last ten years (each of which, it’s worth pointing out, took place in the wake of this album’s first appearance online and in stores).

Once we’re in the clutches of The Sad Charade’s second act, it’s just about impossible to evade the excitement that an homage to The Cure like “Unstable” can spark no matter how many times you’ve heard it before. “Churn, Spin, Shake” and “Reason” are a little less tethered to the old fashioned way of making a post-Joy Division strain of punk rock, but all in all, you could argue that all of this music has a lot in common with the iconic forerunners who came before the likes of Random Parade. This album is concrete and rather historical if you take it in the context of its generation of LPs, not only as a statement of self by its creators but as a link to the alternative music past so many millennials need to better understand in 2020.

The Sad Charade comes to a close with the bassline-forged “Mirrors” and industrial power ballad “Cynic,” the latter of which still feels like the greatest song Random Parade have ever recorded. Ten years can do a lot to a record, and most of the time, it’s nothing positive – but this just isn’t the case with Random Parade’s debut album. For what I desire in a vintage alternative rock disc, The Sad Charade is a milestone for its genre and the timeframe from which it was put together, and this September, I’d recommend audiences around the globe give its tracklist a second look.

Michael Rand - mobangles.com


In their seminal debut album The Sad Charade, SoCal post-punkers Random Parade established a sound as defined by anti-melodicism as it was a familiar, albeit retro, surrealism that endures to this day among modern alternative artists like Glom, Parker Longbough and Riches of the Poor. In songs like “Mirrors,” “Cynic” and “Unstable,” the band delivers a series of chills that are conceived out of synthetic harmonies almost exclusively, living little room for anything of color in the dreary, almost painfully bleak sense of tonality they produce. There’s not a lot of catharsis in The Sad Charade; in fact, a black cloud seems to follow the most compelling beats in the tracklist. Moodiness is a key component of post-punk, but in this record, it got an update from its original incarnation that definitely helped to keep the genre alive.

“Start & End,” “Sad Charade” and “Slip Into a Spell” translate really well ten years after their initial arrival, and to a larger extent they feel really predictive of what would come in the postmodern pop movement towards the end of the 2010s. The last thing that was on Random Parade’s mind when making The Sad Charade was timelessness – this is obvious from the streamlined approach they took to the production value, and most of all, the DIY aesthetic they try to preserve despite employing a slick varnish behind the mixing board – and that could be why this LP is so chills-inducing. You don’t have to be a professional critic to recognize the lack of pretentiousness; it’s in the character of every composition here.

There’s so much unfiltered emotionality sewn into the instrumentation of “Daydream,” “No. 1 Crush,” “Holy Water” and “Churn, Spin, Shake” that it’s easy to get distracted by the complexities of the arrangements over the vocals in some of their more climactic moments. That said, there’s never a point in which the lyrical content in The Sad Charade sounds like a backburner component of the larger narrative unfolding in the tracklist. If you’re looking for well-rounded post-punk, this is actually one of the best albums to have debuted in 2010 (especially if you compare it side by side with some of the most heavily-buzzed alternative LPs to have stirred up the mainstream that year).

Random Parade might not have broken through to the primetime with their 2010 debut, but it’s undebatable as to whether or not they were able to raise the bar for both themselves and the scene that spawned them. In eleven tracks, this band shaped a full-length effort in The Sad Charade that still feels really sonically potent and aesthetically stylish over ten years after it first hit record store shelves, which is something I simply cannot say about a lot of other albums in its peer group. It’s the embodiment of what wound up being the most transformational era in the history of SoCal alternative rock, but more than that, it shows us just how far its creators have come in the last decade since its release.

Garth Thomas - Hollywood Digest

"“The Sad Charade” (LP) by Random Parade"

Though sharp and occasionally verging on atonal territory, the distortion element in Random Parade’s “Cynic” is as crucial a contributor to the narrative in The Sad Charade as any of the lyrics here are – if not more so when it really matters. Layer upon layer of gritty synthesizers and guitars are waiting to carry us away from reality to a place of unspeakable lust and self-awareness in this throwback to 2010, and while it’s true that a lot of quality post-punk has come out of the woodwork in the ten years since, this record remains as much a winner today as it did the day it was released.

There’s a lot of sonic depth to be enjoyed in The Sad Charade’s deep cuts like “Daydream,” “Mirrors,” “No. 1 Crush” and “Sad Charade,” each of which feel more multidimensional than most anything the rock establishment has been responsible for lately. A full-bodied counterpart to the lyrics, the instrumentation throughout this LP tells its own story, never putting too much pressure on the vocal to singlehandedly push the narrative on its own. There’s too much emotion to make that kind of a record here, and it’s clear to me that Random Parade knew this coming into the studio.

“Unstable,” “Slip Into a Spell” and “Churn, Spin, Shake” are boasting some really heavy pop polish, but I think it was necessary to give their detailed elements a little more of the spotlight than they would have been able to attain in a different scenario. It’s almost as though Random Parade were intentionally trying to overproduce different parts of this album for no other reason than to utilize the sterility of a studio-centric sound. It’s counterintuitive to the post-punk ethos on paper, but in execution, it’s everything that I would want an alternative rock band to be doing now, in 2020.

“Start & End,” the aforementioned “Cynic,” “Sad Charade” and “Reason” borrow some of the atmospheric tones I would associate with Neurosis or Ox-bow, only repurposed with a dynamic pop sensibility you would never hear from either of those two groups. There are some occasions on which this band don’t hesitate to wear their influences on their sleeve, but generally speaking, nothing in The Sad Charade feels indebted to anyone other than the players ten years later. It stands alone, and in a way that doesn’t leave the morals behind its creation open to our individual interpretations.

Those with a taste for darkwave at its most radio-friendly needn’t look any further for an unabashedly classic listen this autumn than Random Parade’s The Sad Charade, which definitely ranks as one of my favorite old school records I’ve revisited in the past month. Sometimes it takes a little time for a critics to give a band their due time in the spotlight, and I think this could absolutely be true of the California crew who made this phenomenal LP back in 2010. They’re finding a second life this year, and their debut album’s ongoing relevancy is the biggest reason why.

Mark Druery - Indie Shark Music Magazine

"Random Parade’s “The Sad Charade”"

On a simple and consistent trajectory of rhythm that doesn’t allow for much deviation from an evenhanded formula, there’s a pulsating sense of dread that follows every step we take in “Unstable,” and while it’s presented to us in a slightly different fashion than it is in “Slip Into a Spell,” the two songs are bound together by a lot more than the tracklist of Random Parade’s The Sad Charade.

From the haze of harmonies in “Cynic” to the urgent swing of “Sad Charade,” Random Parade’s 2010 debut album doesn’t fail to keep its listeners on the edge of our seats, waiting to find out whether the light at the end of the this tunnel is just a mirage or a genuine path to redemption from the murky backdrop we’re placed in side of here. In The Sad Charade, the sunny warmth of this band’s southern California scene is nowhere to be found – in its place, there is only a forbidden embrace of angst nothing short of eviscerating for those who are sensitive to the emotionality of modern electric art.

“No. 1 Crush” doesn’t leave us in the lurch plied with more bassline indulgence than we know what to do with; unlike some of the similarly-stylized songs of its era, this is a superiorly heavy track far from dependent on overstated tones. There’s a carnal attitude that comes with every verse in “Holy Water,” “Churn, Spin, Shake” and the album-opening “Start & End” that you just can’t manufacture with any amount of studio bells and whistles, and frankly, I don’t think there’s anything worse than listening to someone try to. Random Parade have never tried to manipulate us with their synthesized harmonies – even the artificialities in their sound have a purpose to advance a certain narrative or feeling, and that’s what makes this debut such a hard record to put down. There’s nothing self-centered about the statements made in “Slip Into a Spell” or “Mirrors;” on the contrary, they feel as commentarial as this kind of material can get without sounding a little paranoid.

If it’s abrasive noise given the gift of a melodic backbone you seek, “Reason” has your number. Layered poeticisms that extend themselves from words to strings and synth harmonies the same? “Daydream” is the next song you need to spin. Groove-focused post-punk grabs us with both hands in “Sad Charade” much as a faint allusion to violence is enough to both intimidate and rally an entire audience in the opening bars of “Start & End,” and together, all eleven of these songs add up to something that no indie rock fan can dismiss as unoriginal or uninspired a decade after its release.

The Sad Charade, for all intents in purposes, will likely never be regarded with the same love and respect that Unknown Pleasures is, but for its time, it would be criminal to discuss the early 2010s SoCal alternative rock identity without acknowledging its contribution and, moreover, the continuous influence Random Parade have provided in the years since dropping it.

Mindy McCall - IndiePulse Music

"Random Parade – Open Windows – Single Review"

The US synth-rock quartet Random Parade surfaced with a new track on the 1st.

Open Windows, makes a welcome return to a band which doesn’t feature often, though of long stay with the site having first featured in 2012 and always casting dark shadows through the room with this song being of similar countenance of some significant difference, however, the introduction of synths as a forefront to the track which immediately transports the listener through to the likes of early ’80s synthrock music in its retrospective memory plane, with the listener minding they should be adorned in a frilled dress shirt to fully align their frame of narrative. - Emerging Indie Bands


Coming in 2022 - Never Meant To Last - album

The Sad Charade - album

The Void Above - EP

Dark Mile - single



Drawing the audience in with smoldering, post-punk indie rock, singed with a nostalgic vibe of moody 80s alternative. Random Parade emerges and wanders about with songs steeped in painful emotions of loneliness and despair. 

What began as a lo-fi bedroom project continues to find success online with multiple EPs and a full length LP which garnered airplay on local college radio. They play live shows in southern California and have supported 80s icons Missing Persons, Berlin, and The Fixx.

Band Members