First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2007, Volume 14, #1
Written by John Metzger
In crafting his latest album, Anders Parker brought Wilco drummer Ken Coomer, Son Volt pedal steel player Eric Heywood, and guitarist Kirk Swan (from Steve Wynn’s band) on board to support him, and the results are exactly what one might expect. Much of the self-titled effort drifts past in a dreamlike fashion, and, at times, the outing’s mellow, melancholy mood is so unassuming that it’s easy to miss the potency of Parker’s material. Oh, Monkeywrench, for example, is a mournful reflection upon western society’s culture of mass consumption, while False Positive takes a shot at the neo-cons who recently were booted out of office. Elsewhere, Proof intertwines spiritual quests and carnal urges as Parker ponders the existence of both God and love, and Belated is a touchingly apologetic confession of devotion in the wake of a forgotten birthday. Although the music is drenched in the flavors of alt-country and distorted indie rock, it more firmly is enmeshed within the hushed and hazy etherealness of folk-pop. Pervading the eponymous endeavor is an air of somber resignation, and only the tangle of guitars that careens in Neil Young-ian fashion from the final chorus of Dear Sara and the steady groove of Pajarito — which also bends the bright acoustic guitars of Crosby, Stills & Nash around the dark and eerily ominous intonations of Pink Floyd — bear hints of how agitated Parker is with the status quo. Perhaps if he had shown a similar sense of urgency on several other tunes, the collection might not have sounded as casual as it does. Nonetheless, there’s a quiet beauty that clings to his bruised and battered refrains, and the shadowy echoes that reverberate through the affair continue to haunt long after its songs have finished playing.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box