Paradise Is Pocket-Sized

Jack Collins on the new album from Chiswick's Parish Music Box

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The Overnight Success That Took 20 Years

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The debut album from Chiswick six piece "overnight success that took 20 years" is a mix of songs that could quite easily reach out to the masses across the world. But this album is so much more than that. Released on No Carbon Records, the PMB have crafted one of the most delicate, poignant albums of the year.

The album opens with the Smiths-quoting, Booby-Trapped Bouquet. The simple, repetitive guitar riff played solo at the beginning, and then over chords, provides a perfect undertone for the soft vocal tones telling his own poignant story, and it all contributes to form a swirling, tranquil, peaceful, start to the album.

This is followed by Can't Weigh The Rain which is much more lively, yet no less touching. It is telling people not to worry so much about the small things in live, but rather to enjoy it as much as they can, and not to worry about trying to do something if they know they can't in the first place.

Sand Apple tells of wanting to "finish the world of the man who called me a girl." It talks of not being able to swallow your pride, and how this just leads to trouble. Again, soft guitars mix with calm vocal tones, until the chorus starts, with it's pained lyrics, of the "sand apple man."

"Heavy Drinkers make lonely girls." A chorus more relevant to today's society than anything Scouting for Girls could ever dream of. The verse lyrics are haunting and beautiful, alike to the previous songs. However, the unnecessary swirly background repetitions in the chorus are unneeded, and I feel, don't really add anything of value - the message is viable on it's own.

(Time for The) Time of Your Life changes the mood somewhat. It is more energetic, more alive, and more angry, the introduction would suggest. As the lyrics begin to talk about War and Education, this vein is carried on. Until the chorus bursts in, like sunshine breaking through a dark cloud, the tonality changes from minor to major, and everything becomes positive - Forget the gloom of the past, and look forward to the good times to come.

Bring It On tells of saying sorry, and actually meaning it. The words are very simple, and the riff repetitive, and yet, it is very effective. The music and vocals intertwine effortlessly, it would seem, and it just goes to show how well the band work together, how their music is so seamless, so effectively crafted.

All Ways talks of just seeming to annoy everyone around you, even if you are not doing anything in particular to do so. What do you do when "all ways seem so wrong?" What do you do if you can't do right for doing wrong? This song conveys these troubled times for everyone.

The only complaint that could be had with this album, is that parts of almost all the songs, sound a little bit too-heavily-influenced by I Know It's Over by the Smiths. But then, if you're going to be influenced, then why not by the best?

Jack Collins


December 18, 2008