Mental Home Recordings is the latest album from British singer songwriter Philip Parfitt, a collection of tracks which captivated the imagination as firmly as ears and brought a fresh breath to a year we have all just endured rather than enjoyed.
Parfitt is best known as the founder, guitarist, vocalist and primary songwriter of The Perfect Disaster which from emerging in 1980 released four acclaim luring albums during their eleven years together. Other bands, projects and his contribution to the notable emerging careers of many others have only escalated his reputation as too live performances across his time in bands and solo alongside the likes of Nico, Spiritualized, Spacemen 3, My Bloody Valentine, the Pixies, the Chills, the Jesus and Mary Chain and others.
Mental Home Recordings is his second solo release, the successor to his very well-received debut, I’m Not The Man I Use To Be of 2014. The album offers ten songs which weave intimate and suggestion bound tales for the imagination to conjure with. Certainly lyrically they provide a landscape of thought and intimation if at times teasing a scenario rather than painting one leaving the listener to enjoyably design within the warm yet shadow lined embrace of his music. It made for a record which captivated on many levels; his neo-folk bred sound a hug for many flavours across the individual dramas.
The album opens up with its two recent singles, both of which featuring Bordeaux-based psychedelic folk-rock artist Alex Creepy Mojo. Somebody Called Me In begins things, the track a gentle caress on ears and thoughts with swarthy melodic sighs colouring its skies. Parfitt’s voice and words are as compelling as his music, each essence of the song, as across the album, a brush of poetic reflection and observation.
It is a fine start but soon eclipsed by the outstanding All Fucked Up, which immediately wraps ears in drama and temptation. Guitar and keys sublimely conjure certain feelings amidst emotive atmosphere even before Parfitt adds his descriptive tones. Every second added to a creative theatre which builds to an indie pop nurtured chorus which easily burrowed under the skin casting manipulative urging. Easily our favourite moment within Mental Home Recordings, the song epitomises all the captivating aspects of the release in five minutes of magnificence.
The likes of If I Wake Up and Don‘t Wait (Until I Am Dead Before You Tell Me That You Love Me) equally create a drama in sound and breath which drew close attention, the first almost Lowry-esque in its suggested imagery and intimacy with the second bearing darker melancholy in its tender balladry. Both songs increasingly captivated by the listen which the following John Clare echoed with its own individual exploration of heart and soul. The song also has a poignant, compassionate touch but courted by a dark almost droning sonic atmosphere to temper the warmth whilst enthralling thoughts.
As the smouldering air of I Saw There Beside Me and Bones Cold with its even more perfervid atmosphere passed, each with a tale of dark seduction and contemplation, Mental Home Recordings compelled the imagination, My Love a creative echo in that orchestration with its own melodic, lyrical and almost web like tempting.
Are We Really Still The Same intensified their success with its dark folk spectacle, its climate bred in long shadows and atmosphere incubated in Morricone-esque radiance. The song fascinated as it pleasured, bringing the album to a compelling conclusion though there is still time for the fine emotive hug of bonus track, Of Nothing In Particular.
Mental Home Recordings is a record which caught ears up in enjoyment from its first breath and has only escalated its hold by the listen, Philip Parfitt a rather potent troubadour for melancholic hearts and endearing shadows.
Mental Home Recordings, are out now via A Turntable Friend Records; available @ https://philipparfitt.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 18/01/2021
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