At its heart this second album from Somerset based singer songwriter Nick Parker is folk. But dig deeper and there’s a far broader range of styles on offer, from alternative indie pop to stadium-sized, get your lighters out, rock.
Production from Twin Falls man Luke Stidson helps the alternative indie feel and with a collection of local musicians and friends in tow the album also has a warmth to it.
In places those taking part even steal the limelight, such as guitarist and harmonium player Dave Little whose country twang brings to life opener Could We At Least Try. Singer Beth Rowley is another talent given room to shine and provides a star turn on the melancholy Oceonographer.
Parker and Stidson clearly know how to get the best out of a range of musicians with Clare Tarling’s fiddle playing deserving of praise for highlighting some fine melodies in the songs but never veering into the clichés of Irish folk/rock, that are thankfully avoided on this album, even though on Never Been To Dublin Parker admits to adoring that genre.
Another musician involved is Billy Shinbone, the alter ego of Flipron frontman Jesse Budd, who brings not only banjo but some fine 1950s style lead guitar work to elevate songs such as Jerusalem.
The collection of tracks here are those Parker has been gigging across the UK and Europe for much of the last year. But while the stomp of up tempo tracks such as I’ve Never Been to Dublin Before and the stadium rock bombast of Another Journey Home are sure to be crowd pleasers on stage, it is the sadder, more atmospheric tracks such as Oceonographer, Come on Jump Over Your Shadow and Something Someone Said where Parker’s writing really shines on disc.
By Joe Lepper
Nick Parker and his backing band The False Alarms, which features many of the musicians on this album, will be performing later this month at the Glastonbury Festival 2014.