John Parish – Once Upon A Little Time (Thrill Jockey)

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John Parish

Famous for being PJ Harvey’ guitar playing sidekick John Parish has, on his two previous solo instrumental albums, proved himself to be an formidable artist in his own right. His evocative playing has always coated Harvey’ unholy wailings in a pleasant pall of darkness.

On this record he finds his own voice, literally. This is the first record Parish has made in fifteen years that features him singing. I hate to say this, but this is probably not a good thing. It’s not that his voice is bad; his plaintive crooning could work well with the right material. Trouble is, the material on this record is not that great. The album’ first song proper, “Boxers’, makes it clear from the outset that something is wrong. Sure, the song has a pleasant shuffle to it but the melody never really takes off and the lyrics are not nearly as profound or affecting and Parish seems to think they are.

This album is certainly not offensive but it is almost completely unengaging. I am willing to admit that it might be a grower, but I’m also willing to bet that few people will want spend enough time with it to allow it to grown on them.

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