“Parlour” is the third outing from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK, indie-pop band “The Third Space”, comprising longstanding friends Hendrik “Henk” Kleinsmiede and Joe Farthing, supplemented by various friends and collaborators, including musician and engineer William Manwaring and producer Kevin Paul.
Much like the first and second albums overlapped, so did the second and third: they kind of blended into each other. Most of the ideas (riffs, snatches of melody; lyrics; motifs) for the record were generated in the early summer 2013. Henk and William recorded demos in the late summer and early autumn, and Joe spent time in spring 2014 improving the demos, polishing them into their present format. A couple of songs just took longer. “Wonder”, for example. Although amongst the first to have been written, it took a while to complete, largely due to Joe re-writing the melody. Kevin mixed most of the songs between April and August 2014. “Wonder” followed in March, 2015.
Three familiar “The Third Space” motifs are once more on this record: love; politics and finitude.
The rocker “Piece Of Me” and brass-driven celebration “The Joys Of Your Love” are straightforward songs about love and sex. Then there are other type of love songs: “Red” is a yearning lament for an old flame; whilst “Betty” is a platonic love song to a fabulous and inspiring old lady Henk knew whilst growing up.
The political songs are “Crusades”, which bemoans the tendency of testosterone-fueled young men (on both sides) to opt immediately for war rather than dialogue; whilst “Fear Of Others” parodies right-wing paranoia and bigotry.
The songs that ponder finitude are “Wonder” (in awe of the sheer unlikelihood of being and beauty of life) and “Sorrow” which mourns friends and family members “The Third Space” have lost in recent years. As always, the 9th song on all “Third Space” records has a comedic element: “Successful People (Are Seldom Sarcastic)” questions the peculiar British tendency to always want to cut people down to size.
The name for the record “Parlour” was also something of a pun. Given the “finitude” motif it definitely references funeral parlours. But the “politics” motif (as well as the philosophical nature of the song “Wonder”) nod towards different types of “parlour”: the political salons of Enlightenment era Europe.
Perhaps there is also a third dimension to the name. As an ardent Arsenal fan and season-ticket holder, Henk has always wanted to lionise Ray Parlour, the Gooners’ Essex-born midfield engine from the 1990s. Never much of a flair player, he was nevertheless much loved by Arsenal fans. The reason was his work ethos and down-to-earth nature. He was a real grafter, who just tried very hard and looked like he was enjoying it. “The Third Space” can relate: maybe we are a bit like that. We make up in enthusiasm and graft what we lack in flair. And enjoy doing it!