I admire anyone who has an approach and appreciation of life that is cosmopolitan and multi-lingual. You can hear that attitude in the music of Para Lia. You can also hear the effects of growing up in a divided Germany (remember the wall only came down in 1989). There is a bleakness or starkness in the music that harkens to an austere and challenging existence. All of that comes out in Para Lia's Alternative/Indie sound. The edgy crunch of the guitars overlain with superb vocal melodies and harmonies (often supported by René's wife Cindy) combine the outlooks of East Germany's austerity and Western European optimism.
René Methner (the solo artist known as Para Lia) bought his first used acoustic guitar while he was still in East Germany, and quickly set a goal of becoming a musician, with dreams of being in a band. Some good things happen when we go off to post-secondary education, and René found the same thing. He moved away to Cottbus to go to university and there he met a few fellows who were similarly inclined and René's first band was formed. Influenced by the alternative rock sounds of the 80's and 90's, he has found this genre to be the right medium to express his philosophical outlook on life and social issues.
René's philosophical ideas in his lyrics derive from an honest intellectual curiosity and a love of ancient Greece. He enjoys traveling and finds inspiration in his travels to Greece. He has a collection of old books, as well as a few guitars, and that seems to represent the dualism of his outlook on life: feed the mind (intellectual explorations) and feed the soul (music). Out of this duality comes the singular and unique vision of Para Lia's music.
Para Lia, the Greek term meaning beach or coast, also gives meaning to Rene's music. He explores music the way the coastlines and contours of water meet at the shore; where one musical style or idea meets another, where Rock meets Alternative and Indie. Perhaps the choice of guitars leads to the flexibility that is found in the music of Para Lia. René plays a gorgeous white Samick Royale Limited Greg Bennett edition. It has all the tech stuff that guitarists look for: gold hardware, Grovers, Bigsby, Seymore Duncan Designed Pickups with a beautiful tone for Jazz, Blues, and, as it turns out, for edgier Alt Rock! A look at the photo René' sent will attest to his love of that guitar (note: René denies the gold flourishes had anything to do with his choice of guitar ;)
It is René's voice, his timbre, and his English, rendered with a touch of German breaking through his pronunciations that grabs my ears, and that is not a criticism but an observation of a musical quality that can be heard in René's strong vocals, and it comes across as slightly exotic, to my ears, anyway! He delivers his thoughtful lyrical messages with an intensity and drive, that commands the listener's attention, not with a shouting or screaming kind of intensity, but more thoughtful and philosophical, an intensity nonetheless.
I have a few favourites from ParaLia's growing discography on SoundCloud. Here are three of the titles with a line from each one that I found interesting and representative of Rene's insightful and acerbic writing style. If you get a chance, listen to Leaves Of Grey (“hope is a waking dream, Aristotle said...”*remember René loves Greece ;), Who Gets Fooled Again (“the crowd is asking questions, time to feed the brains of fools ...” and The Man Who Went Away (“the rhythm of boots marching on the ground kicks a pretty hole in his pretty cloud”)
Para Lia is dropping a new album in March, Soap Bubble Dreams (2019) and here are several links to grab one: www.paralia.bandcamp.com www.amazon.de/Soap-Bubble-Dreams-Para-Lia/dp/B07NHRJ3MW