Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Parson Red Heads - Blurred Harmony


(This review first appeared in issue #69 of Shindig! magazine.)

Fluff & Gravy CD/LP

Thirteen years since they formed as a student band these Portland, Oregon-based journeymen and women release their fourth and most satisfying album to date, interestingly without the aid of expensive studios and name producers. Okay, so they don't try and reinvent the wheel but they do keep it turning rather beautifully. This album's wheel conjures up desert highways, gentle breezes and the sun setting on a shimmering horizon. Their music is a sumptuous blend of cosmic Americana, Paisley Underground, and jangle 'n' harmony guitar pop.

Fittingly for an album that takes its name from a Donald Justice poem, there are themes of nostalgia, regret, stock taking, family and thankfulness for life's small mercies and everyday gifts. Add those to the rich layered guitars, pedal steel, four-way harmonies and genuinely catchy melodies and you have the sound of '70s FM radio remade as an aural security blanket. A sensual, soothing balm for the soul.