The Melbourne electro-pop duo Parralox are human beings -- classically trained vocalist Roxy and vintage-synth-obsessed producer John Von Ahlen -- but given the uncanny efficiency and precision of their working methods, it almost seems as if there's something robotic about them.
Formed in early 2008, they posted their first song, "I Fell in Love with a Drum Machine," online in February, followed it up with a quick succession of additional tracks, each accompanied by its own artwork and production notes, and completed and released their debut album by the end of the summer. There's certainly a lot robotic, and proudly so, about their music, which is unequivocally based on the greats of 1980s synthesizer pop -- Yaz, Depeche Mode
, the Human League
, etc. -- with lyrics that often make direct reference to these and likeminded bands. Prior to forming Parralox, Roxy had been working independently as a singer/songwriter, splitting her time between Australia and the U.K., while Von Ahlen, an industry veteran, was a member of the goth cabaret-pop outfit the Tenth Stage. The pair had also worked together previously, both with and without Australian electro artist Johnny X, who had initially introduced them. Encouraged by a growing wave of Internet attention following several compilation appearances, Parralox self-released their album Electricity in August 2008, including a cover of Radiohead
's "Creep" as one of the bonus tracks. They made their debut live appearance in London in December, began scoring the web television series Life After Lisa, produced a handful of remixes, and by early 2009 were already posting tracks for their forthcoming second album even as they prepared the first single release, "Sharper Than a Knife," from their first. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi