|The Parson Red Heads — Blurred Harmony (June 9th, 2017)|
The Parson Red Heads — Blurred Harmony (June 9th, 2017) ≡Φ≡ The Parson Red Heads’ 4th full length record, Blurred Harmony, is a 44~minute distillation of everything the band has musically cultivated, internalized, and learned over their past 13 years writing and playing together. From the pedal steel soaked cosmic jangle of album opener “Please Come Save Me”, the Paisley Underground riff~driven “Coming Down”, the ambient, harmony~bathed ballad “What Have I Become”, all the way to the four~part power~pop suite that closes the record, Blurred Harmony could be looked at as an aural~primer of the band’s various musical loves and influences, projected through the lens of the band’s trademark sound.
≡Φ≡ On its fourth LP, the band further refines their influences into one smooth sonic ride. Psych folk with release on Yukon, Arena Rock, and Fiesta Red.
Location: Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Album release: June 9th, 2017
Record Label: Fluff & Gravy Records / You Are the Cosmos
01. Please Come Save Me 4:39
02. Coming Down 4:54
03. Time After Time 5:07
04. Answer Twice 0:56
05. Sunday Song 5:16
06. What Have I Become 3:50
07. Terrible Lie 4:03
08. Time Is A Wheel 4:36
09. Today Is The Day 2:07
10. Waiting For The Call 2:12
11. Out Of Range 1:56
12. In A Dream 2:58
13. Nostalgia Of The Lakefronts 4:59
≡Φ≡ Blurred Harmony is the 4th studio full~length album from indie psych~folk stalwarts, The Parson Red Heads. It is the overdriven jangle of Teenage Fanclub and Big Star power~pop, the skewed psychedelics of the Paisley Underground, the bittersweet energy of New Zealand’s “Dunedin Sound” movement, and the muted twang of Cosmic Americana, all crammed into 44 minutes. It will be released on June 9 by Fluff and Gravy Records (US) and You Are The Cosmos (Europe).
≡Φ≡ As the band’s frontman, Evan Way puts it, “This record is more a true part of us than any record we have made before — we put ourselves into it, made ourselves fully responsible for it. Even the themes of the songs are more personal than ever — it’s an album dealing with everything that has come before. It’s an album about nostalgia, about time, change, about the hilarious, wonderful, bittersweet, sometimes sad, always incredible experience of living. Sometimes it is about regret, or the possibility of regret. These are big topics, and to us, it is a big album, yet somehow still intimate and honest.”
By Ryan J. Prado | June 8, 2017 | 11:53am | Score: 8.9
≡Φ≡ The Parson Red Heads have a storied, nearly mythical reputation in their adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon, as scholars of the back~porch jangle~pop sometimes referred to as Americana. That kind of renown can be distracting, but despite it, or perhaps because of it, the Red Heads have produced a series of excellent, expansive records thanks to close~knit woodshedding and constant gigging. The band’s third record Orb Weaver was a sneak peek into the auditory fireworks the band was capable of igniting. Their new long~player Blurred Harmony — engineered and produced entirely by guitarist Sam Fowles — augments their down~home charms into something more nebulous, philosophical and more cerebral than any of their previous releases.
≡Φ≡ Operating under a thematic arc of the phenomenons and pains of linear time, the album injects its conceptual palette with both obvious ruminations (“Time After Time,” “Time is a Wheel”), and more abstract pontification (“Today is the Day,” “Waiting on the Call”). In either case, the progress of existence is a prickly pear for the Red Heads on Blurred Harmony, and coaxes some of the band’s most rapturous, personal expressions to date.
≡Φ≡ Opener “Please Come Save Me” flutters in a Fleetwood Mac groove, with guitarist/vocalist Evan Way and Fowles’ warbling leads orbiting Neil Young rhythmic jitters thanks to the steady thrum of drummer Brette Marie Way. The song blossoms purposefully, allowing for the Red Heads’ Americana tentacles to slither and coil around a cosmic jam that finally breaks after a minute~and~a~half with Way singing dreamily, “Days like this I remember things that I tried to forget.” As the tune chugs along, Way confronts his past with a nose toward the future in the determined line, “The future cannot tell me I’m wrong or make me sigh.” It’s heady stuff from the band, who are equally as ballyhooed for their exploratory affinities for late ‘60s psych as they are for their anthemic songcraft.
≡Φ≡ “Sunday Song” floats on a plume of smoky leads and an easy~does~it beat, again slowly evolving from a long, trippy intro into a David Gilmour flashback that flexes and contracts at all the right moments. “Time is a Wheel” seeps feel~good harmonies and breezy, jangly rock that despite its relative non~flashiness most dutifully typifies the Red Heads’ satisfying stranglehold on stoney, county fair power~pop.
≡Φ≡ If it’s possible for the record to get any more space~y, that can be found in its final three tracks. The psychotropic “Out of Range” is a stunted trip replete with one of the album’s more intoxicating harmonic verses, with Way and Fowles singing, “Sorry I fell out of range/The part that was so strange/is I was always there.” The song is over just as it’s about to lead you into a spiraling tailspin to the benevolent foot of the Overmind, when the aptly titled “In a Dream” clears the aural cobwebs with a delightful Chris Bell homage. The song’s potent drive clears yet another trippy path to the album~ending sound collage “Nostalgia on the Lakefronts.” This is the cosmic broadcast from the band’s internal, time~fearing transmissions, and is a bizarre but fitting way to close the book on Blurred Harmony.
≡Φ≡ The Parson Red Heads took things into their own hands for their new record, and turned the rear view on the preceding three~and~a~half years since Orb Weaver to get a long, close look at themselves. The resultant exposition of smart, lucid songwriting and willingness to take skewed stances on established modes of sound is refreshingly blurry, and a fantastic soundtrack to the psychoses of your summery, sunny days.
By Isabel Zacharias | Published June 6 at 3:57 PM
→ 2007 King Giraffe (Yukon Records)
→ 2007 Spaceland Presents: The Parson Red Heads at the Echo (Kufala)
→ 2008 Owl and Timber (Parson Farm Records)
→ 2011 Yearling (Arena Rock)
→ 2013 Orb Weaver (Fiesta Red Records / Redeye Music Distribution)
→ 2017 Blurred Harmony (Fluff & Gravy Records / You Are the Cosmos)
|The Parson Red Heads — Blurred Harmony (June 9th, 2017)|