It is impossible at this point to talk about almost any piece of recently created art or music (or anything?) without mentioning Covid. Jphono1’s “Parliament” is in more ways than one, a product of the pandemic. In fact, this marks the third album to be released by Jphono1 since the country and world more or less shut down, but the first to be wholly conceptualized, written, and recorded during this time. Remarkably, John Harrison has managed to forge a record that feels live and in the room from the remote contributions of old friends and new collaborators.
The album opens with the twanging riff of “Fade the Scene” that builds and intertwines with a thunderous rhythm section and vamping keys eventually settling and giving space to the lyrics, “Find a way to remember to breathe. Take a seat. Lay back. Fade the Scene. Gone. I’m gone.” before sliding into an extended jam. One could at first interpret those words as having to do with being under the influence of something psychoactive. But it can also be read as a way to practice opposite action and mindfulness in order to calm anxiety, which is something a lot of us are feeling these days.
Despite being an overwhelmingly instrumental album, “Parliament” is filled with these kinds of grounding observations. Though the verses are few and far between, when John chooses to add his voice to the mix it is to offer something to chew on. “Comprehend the things you know.” and “Stare at the sky. It’s there when you need it.” are, at face value, simple statements. Against the backdrop of so much global uncertainty, however, they are kind reminders that we do have things to hold onto and anchor us. It is ok to look for comfort in the constants of home and nature if it helps get through the day.
These lyrical notions paired with vibrant, effortless jamming add up to make “Parliament” a refreshing testament of acceptance and hopeful resilience. Jphono1 and company have created a meditative balm in sound, a record about seeking what we need in the small moments that we witness from our couches and porches while we wait for the world to open up again.
RELEASE DATE: March 12 2021
RIYL: Garcia Peoples, Orions Belte, Ryley Walker
Cass McCombs, Steve Gunn
Video for the single "Fade The Scene"
"Harrison’s playing seems to borrow from American Primitive and some of the more lush layers of Steve Gunn to take these songs in surprising places, and the band behind him locks in with a swampy thump, as if Gram Parsons’ Cosmic America took through Appalachia."
"It's a sound that reminds you of all the strengths of the previous Jphono1 records, but also one that breaks new and exciting ground for an act already putting out some of the best music in the Triangle."
Triangle Music Collective
"There are Beach Boys on downers harmonies, ragged stoner guitar sounds and sense of not needing to be anywhere in a hurry."
Post To Wire
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