A sprinkling of Velvet Underground creeps through The Parkas’ second release, “Put Your Head in the Lion’s Mouth.” Or maybe it’s the Replacements? You know the sound I’m talking about–fuzzy, haunting guitar licks and ’70s punkish vocals minus the snarl. But it’s definitely not throwback rock, once you’ve added the tough lyrics, such as the hook, “Every time that I surrender, you put the weapon in my hands,” from You and What Army, and the modern-rock style bursts of synthesizer. Producer Dale (“Great Lake Swimmers”) Morningstar deserves a special shout out as well–this is a crisp and clear album that easily have been made grungey or otherwise “improved” to the point of sounding mainstream and common. Dale lets the band break free to explore the complex rhythms and time changes of “Raggedy Ann” and the almost Van Morrison mysticism of “Let There Be Light.” The London foursome can also do alt-country (“Toronto Enough Tonight”) and Tom Petty/Rolling Stones classic romps (“A Change of Heart”). A casual listener might criticize the band as derivative, but such a person would only reveal his own limitations. As Bart Simpson would say, “If it feels good, do it!” This is loud rock and roll of the highest order and gets my highest recommendation. This is an excellent release that deserves ears and dollars. Buy it if you like rock, because I can’t think of a better rock and roll record that’s come out this year.
For fans of: Classic rock, Deadstring Brothers, Big Buildings, The Replacements.