Blair Parkes: Always Running (usual digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

Heavy Lifting
 Blair Parkes: Always Running (usual digital outlets)

Out of Christchurch, Blair Parkes is a multiple threat whose work encompasses – and impresses in – artworks, writing, photography, videos and music.

He started in the Flying Nun band All Fall Down but has moved through a number of others (notably The Letter 5) and then into a solo career which embraces everything from acoustic guitar releases through to blazing and fuzzed-up pop . . . as on this new album which comes as widescreen, buzzing pop-rock songs with engagingly intimate multi-layered vocals.

In many instances, driven by relentless and almost motorik pulsing beats and great chunks of guitar chords, these songs have a forward momentum which is utterly gripping, like the Clean hitching their wagon to exploratory Krautrock on the opener None Of It Matters.

There's also the crashing and student radio-friendly Heavy Lifting which comes with addictive backing vocals beamed in from the early Sixties, the exciting Always Running, What's Love with a wash of keys adding extra sonic breadth . . .

Yet none of this is overwhelmingly dense because these songs are concise and as driven by melody as motion. And there's a lovely breathing space with the lighter So Special Now and the airy power pop of Sweetest Darkness.

Parkes handles most of the chores himself with Ryan Chin (drums) and backing vocals from Miss Mercury.

There's a real arc to these eight songs as they move from sonic density and lean into the wind at the start and after the halfway mark let themselves relax and rest . . . and the final piece All I Saw positively levitates.

This is quite a journey, and one worth taking.

Check out the breadth of Blair Parkes' creativity here.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Frightened Rabbit: The Midnight Organ Fight (FatCat/Rhythmethod)

Frightened Rabbit: The Midnight Organ Fight (FatCat/Rhythmethod)

This three-piece from Glasgow have an urgent delivery which puts you in mind of the Waterboys at their best, but of course this is very Scottish. Tossed out with garage band energy and a rare... > Read more

Hard Working Americans: Hard Working Americans (Melvin/Southbound)

Hard Working Americans: Hard Working Americans (Melvin/Southbound)

Post-Springsteen, working class dignity is in the air and in the US they have the same political shorthand we endure about “hard working families” when any Leftist politician steps... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

PORTSMOUTH SINFONIA: PLAYS THE POPULAR CLASSICS, CONSIDERED (1974): So bad it's . . . just bad?

PORTSMOUTH SINFONIA: PLAYS THE POPULAR CLASSICS, CONSIDERED (1974): So bad it's . . . just bad?

In the liner notes to this hilariously unlistenable and sometimes punishingly painful album, the producer Brian Eno notes that “it is important to stress the main characteristic of the... > Read more

GRAHAM PATERSON REID (b. Melbourne 1913 – d. Auckland 1985): The big man with the quiet voice

GRAHAM PATERSON REID (b. Melbourne 1913 – d. Auckland 1985): The big man with the quiet voice

This piece first appeared in Metro magazine in 1985 under the title The Bach. The Beach was always “only an hour away” according to my father. And back in the early Sixties... > Read more