Joseph Parsons: The Field / The Forest

review parsons x1 cong

This is a hard album to review. It’s not an album to write about; it’s an album for someone who buys one album a month and takes time to savour it, getting to know all the songs and developing favourite moments.

Parsons is a singer/songwriter, but has a full band. He’s in the same ballpark as people like Ben Folds, or Joshes Rouse and Ritter, performers who tour now and then, and pack out the Apollo in Manchester, or even Brits like Gruff Rhys or Badly Drawn Boy. He doesn’t sound like them, but it’s the same kind of approach: intelligent and crafted pop/rock tunes for an appreciative fanbase. The downside is that he’s got nothing that makes him particularly stand out, but it’s quality throughout.

The Field / The Forest is two CDs that differ in that The Field is softer and The Forest more rock. We’d suggest sampling the opening song of the latter, Scream, which is perhaps the track that’s most instantly appealing. Musically it sounds a bit up-tempo Tom Petty, though Parsons has a gruffer voice.

The standard of the lyrics can be seen in the excellent Berlin: “She’s more than the girl next door / Einstein smart in a mini skirt / She likes her tats and pawnshop pearly / But she loves Tolstoy’s words”. There’s a whole romcom in those four lines.

The rocky set is more immediately appealing, the more acoustic one slower to reveal its charms, but it’s all well worth the effort.

Buy here: (The Field, The Forest, The River Amazon…)

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