For me, music is personal. It quite literally is the soundtrack to my life. For those who don’t know me, since my early teens, I’ve always carried a Walkman/CD Player/iPod with me. I dread to think of the batteries I have consumed in my lifetime, but I digress. Early on, I clearly obtained my taste in music from my father. His influence moulded my music taste with mix tapes and wise, occasional purchases from Our Price and MVC, not to mention a huge collection of vinyl. Dad’s personal taste for rock and roll, indie and alternative, was always my preferred listening choice. One thing I knew for sure – I liked listening to music of my own discovery. However, I always gravitated to the bands that clearly had passion seeping from their pores, the guys who bust their arse to make it in their chosen profession. Rock as we know it is full of people like this and it’s usually why the music is so emotionally taut, powerful and inspiring.
In the 90’s, the U.K was heavily inundated with a variety of rock bands. Blur, Oasis, Radiohead, Ocean Colour Scene, Pulp, Manic Street Preachers, Garbage…the names are endless. This was music and in my opinion, it still is. When I received a copy of In Stereocolour by The Parkas, it was hard not to make the instant comparison. From as early as ten seconds in, it’s clear the guys behind this fine album have a massive love for British music. Let’s get one thing straight though – my trained ears instantly took me back to the 90’s, and even before this time, from the almost Gallagher-esque vocals to the searing riffs that bring back memories of Clapton and Hendrix. Yes, The Parkas clearly have a love for British music, but their influence is rock and roll in general, and its ever present in the songs here. It’s clear they have a passion for this music and the sound is more than a loving tribute: it’s a dedicated thank you to the bands they’ve enjoyed during their many hours of downtime. In doing this, they’ve created a sound that reminds you of a time when British rock was King, but steadily holds its own to become The Parkas…not a tribute band. Considering these guys are still very young, and the technique that is evident in the songs, this is an incredible achievement.
In Stereocolour is an incredible album. I’ll admit, nowadays, I like my music to be a little heavy. However, too much of that can be bad for ones ears and sanity, so dropping the volume a little and chilling with some indie rock and roll music is my idea of relaxation. Clocking in at around 50 minutes but not releasing your attention for a second of it, In Stereocolour is a melodic, rock and roll album to be impressed with. Every song revels in the vocals of Mark Crisp, who sounds like a powerful hybrid of Liam Gallagher and Roger Daltry but yet manages to maintain his own, original sound. Supported by Paul Crisp, his brother, on rhythm guitar and backing vocals (the subtle riffs are something to behold), Gary Parker on bass (the base for the songs, bringing them to vibrant life), and Chris Brittain on drums (who knots the entire band together), The Parkas have produced a flourished album of superb quality. Yes, the comparisons to other bands are noted – in this day and age, it will always happen – but it’s refreshing to find a musical act who are just that – superb music. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a British album as much as this, and with many modern acts relying on shock value, court appearances and expensive divorces to keep their images and record sales alive, it’s great to see a band actually using their music to prove their worth and make an impact on the British music scene.
So 5 stars? Totally. Next up for me is The Parka’s gig at The Forum in Tunbridge Wells on May 30th. Not got tickets yet? Now’s your chance. In Stereocolour is a great introduction to a phenomenally talented band. This album reminded me of the time I first discovered music for myself. Gone are the days of sitting in front of the stereo and recording songs from CD to tape, in are the days of one click purchasing on the Internet, but the feeling is still the same – a thrilling sense of adventure. I discovered The Parkas much like I did Blur and The Manics in the 90’s and I’m happy to confirm that In Stereocolour only points upwards for these guys. If they continue in this vein, they have a very bright future. British and international rock music will welcome them with open arms. Well done, guys!