Sunday, 15 April 2018

Parsnip - Health (2017) (Anti Fade Records)

A few weeks ago I was having a cyber debate with some cyber friends, who share similar tastes in music. We consisted of one British guy (me), three Americans, a Scottish  fella (apparently he is not British?) and a Dutch lady. The debate centred around a hypothetical 'desert island' premise, asking if you were marooned and could only have the music of one continent with you, which one would you choose?
The Americans all said America. The Scot said Europe and quickly clarified with what can only be described as 'immense energy' that this was because of the sheer unfettered brilliance of certain 1980-1990's Scottish bands, whilst the Dutch lady chose Europe with far less swearing. My choice was Australasia. This was met by an initial silence and 'why' type questions from all except my fellow kindred spirit (the Dutch lady), who immediately started reeling off Flying Nun, Triple J, Dunedin Sound and various new Australian psyche bands.

This Parsnip EP is a prime example of exactly why, in this case, my tendency towards stringent arrogance when defending or presenting a position is superseded by actual fact. For the Aussies and Kiwi's have a way of taking the basis of other en vogue musical movements, stripping them down with precision of a morally bereft car dealer and making them their own, with the minimum of fanfare and pretension being exercised. They may not always be the initial innovators, but they certainly innovate when given a foundation that impresses with.

This is seen in two ways in this brief, but nonetheless excellent EP. Initially, the first two tracks, the brilliant opener Health (see below) and Nigella immerse themselves in the feel of the early to mid 1980's indie-pop aesthetic, with the sound of Demonstration Tapes era British band Dolly Mixture being the obvious and revered reference point. Of course, as is always the case with our Antipodean friends they add their own mutated psyche flourishes and a delightful ramshackle substance to both the lyrics, production and a half shouted The Go-Team style vocal delivery. This all culminates in a  sound unique enough to pass the most stringent originality tests.

The other two tracks of the EP fall more squarely into the psych-pop/rock category that fellow Australian bands such as The Babe Rainbow, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets (these are just my favourites, it really is a burgeoning psych-rock scene in Australia at present) are refining from their American counterparts at the moment. Seeing Red (see a superb live version below) is the best of these with its superb psyche jangle rock only missing some 1960's Austin Powers types dancing around in front of them whilst doing weird motions with flowers, to become the defining moment of the new Australian psyche era.

Seeing Red (Live)

Geelong base ANTI FADE Records have developed a very strong roster over the the last two years and this EP shows that Parsnip have the potential to become their flagship band.

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  1. That debate is painful. It's actually funny that as an LA band The Armoires are thought of as having a really "California sound" but aside from obvious British influences we are massively Church Crowded House Go-Betweens Chills Flying Nun informed -- bands that have done more with the old school LA sound while our hometown has gotten really excited about hair metal and god knows what else. "Doubtful Sound" oughta say it all -- that's a body of water in New Zealand!

  2. LOL...It is always interesting to me how different areas can develop their own sound Washington is recently known for the re-emergence of a more Punk sound, Liverpool has always had whatever variants of pop sensibilities they fancy in a certain decade and Manchester is possibly the home of that true indie sound...The Armoires get involved in all sort and labels like your own fight the good fight usually against the tide...Hit up a young LA band called The Pantones (they are reviewed here) who are doing the whole melodic Post-Punk thing as good as any I have heard for a while, if you want yet more variety in your shows...and keep fighting the good fight.

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