Johnny Parry - More Love & Death
Sad without ever sounding self-pitying, and dark without despair, the songs of Johnny Parry are experimental and atmospheric, but grounded in some of the most basic human emotions. "More Love & Death" will conjure allusions to Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen. But Parry's hard-won rasp is his own, and his carnivalesque view of the daily terms of psychic warfare are of a brutal honesty that can hold many a candle to the greats of whom he will remind you.
Soprano Donna Loomans offers a jarring vocal counterpoint to Parry's soul cough, a haunting, nearby-yet-above it-all presence that ups the poignancy quotient considerably, even when the eerie "God Loves Me" is above all about fucking. Parry's true partner, however, is his piano. Driven by that instrument, "Piece by Piece," "The Love of Lucy and I," and the stunning "Love Will Hunt You Down" epitomize the spare, rolling, but deeply present tunes. Parry manages to sound ancient and modern, and seems as if he is singing from a room where something happened to him as a kid, to which he has returned to deliver an exorcism. Also notable are "Dine Alone" and "Men Will Hang."
"More Love & Death" is genius, one that builds off of trauma and bad choices, blends it with the moody echoes of some of his heroes, and creates art that remains, despite the fringes, stark and brutally honest. That genius is, more than the sum of its parts, Johnny Parry himself.
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