The Shoreworld takes a look at yet another offering from the City Of Brotherly Love. The Parsnip Revolt are an oddly named band that delivers hook-laden, highly original material. Their new disc, A Sunshine Report, features 10 intricate songs that range in the influential fields of Radiohead, Coldplay, Kings Of Leon, U2, and Weezer.
Produced by Derek Chafin (Transistor Rodeo, The Greystone Ramblers, The Linchpins and many others), A Sunshine Report tuned my head from the very first chord. This is a unique and thought out record, blending layers of color with dynamic precision and presentation. By the second listen, I was convinced that, even if I do think their name is a bit of an inside mystery, this is a band that needs to be heard.
“You Can’t Save Me” pumps along with four on the floor drums and bass, holding a steady pattern as guitars flush across the front in open, voice chorded glory. Geremiah Giampa leans into the song with his controlled crooner style, driving the song from a stark, bass dominated verse, to guitar driven choruses that ping and echo under the tight harmonies of Derek Chafin. Memorable and commercially viable, this song gets the job done with style. The double time chorus builds to the ending salvo, staying deep in your head as you hum the addictive melody for weeks.
“Keep It All” blasts out of the speakers with hypnotic guitar riffs that sound as big and greasy as a bridge cable on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Bass and drums pop under Giampa’s distortion effected wail before dropping down into a finger plucked, guitar accompaniment. This song is a builder, gaining strength like a tornado; picking up everything in its path and throwing it back out into the spectrum. Guitars glimmer, sustaining left, right, and center as pianos hammer quick and simple accents before being sucked back into the mix. By the end, there are vocal harmony staggers floating far above the vortex of guitar mayhem.
Giampa’s Chris Martin meets Bono style blows all over “Remember When.” If there is one song that doesn’t move too far from the bar, it’s this one. Well executed and textured, it doesn’t follow some of the other formulas that brought me to the dinner table in the first place. Not a bad thing as there’s rarely a record that doesn’t have one disconnect on it. Personal vision is just that.
The Revolt are back on point with “Mountain Of Blame.” One of the strong points of this band is Giampa’s compositional punch reach. TPR get to the point fast and give the listener something to sink their teeth into. That’s what I like, and that’s what all of you want when it comes to spending hard earned money on music. This song winds like a viper, building complex layers of coiled guitars wrapped around intricate bass patterns and sonically solar drum hits. Giampa is back in black here as well, laying power based vocals far over the top of this mid-tempo diamond. As you all know, I’m a guitar nut, and this band delivers the dose I need to get higher than a kite. Reverb coated Les Pauls and Telecasters clang with tremolo echoes as dirty rhythms shore up the backbone of this Weezer influenced radio hit.
I’m usually pretty hard on a band that attempts a ballad, especially if it plods along and goes nowhere except the “woe is me” highway, but “Never An End” puts the proverbial ball over the wall. This song is an outstanding favorite on A Sunshine Report, and one that’s sure to raise an eyebrow or two with program directors and label honchos. Organs whirl subtle like something off of Springsteen’s Tunnel Of Love, as Giampa soothes the confessional and lyrical soul. When the band kicks in with one of the best Americana choruses I’ve heard all year, you just know this isn’t going to suck. Drums and bass hold this tune in heavy vise and there’s no foot dragging, as Giampa and guitarist Jake Williams splash big, Highway 66 rock chords across the solid piece. Melodic turn around riffs and chorded lead voices turn this ballad into a cacophony of joyous and emotionally charged Social D noise.
“Wasted Time” shows the band displaying their U2 influences right on the proverbial sleeve. Guitars are big, bold and spacious. I love the panning of the verse rhythms that pull each player toward opposite ends of the spectrum before semi-centering with riffs that are bigger than Godzilla. The middle eight swirls into a lush and quasi Sade area of pseudo psychedelic wah wah jazz before climbing back out into the hurricane force of Giampa and Williams’ heavy ‘70s riffage.
Another song that caught my ear was the Marcy’s Playground vibe of “Let It Go.” Bursting at the seams, this dirty, Fender dominated rocker has organic, barroom attitude galore, as drum and bass time signatures zigzag this quirky pop gem all over the rhythmic landscape.
“She Said” tows the alternative radio line with its quickly accessed choruses and guitar chugs. Once again, the able talents of Brian Fin (bass) and Tom Mellon (drums/percussion) drive this college popper straight down Melrose Place while Giampa waxes poetically about the age old angst of broken hearts and pleas of understanding that probably falls on deaf female ears. His lyrical sensibility matches his vocal abilities, and I’m pretty sure this guy could sing about garbage on the sidewalk and it would still get your girlfriend going.
“Somewhere Down The Line” is another laid back radio play choice. Guitars sustain over layers of tube powered grit as Giampa layers verses of melancholy drenched regret. At a time length of 4:05, it’s one of the longer songs on the disc, and it doesn’t lose focus for a second.
The disc ends with “Look At Me” and at 4:15, it’s the longest track on the disc. That’s really not too big of a deal anymore, as the three-minute pop rule probably still applies somewhere in the musical world, but I don’t care. “Look At Me” hails from the old school world of Simple Minds. Dissonant guitar lines pick underneath shuffled drums and lyrical mysticism. Guitars seesaw and explode into harmonic dissensions of chaos in the chorus. Giampa takes this one pretty far, but it still comes up just under the wire. Like “Remember When,” it’s a great song that just doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of this disc. In the end, it’s not a bad thing when a band comes up with this much high caliber compositional content, as there’s always a few that sit on the edge of the circle.
The word on The Parsnip Revolt is out. From program directors to magazine writers and even famous musicians, such as the bodacious Louise Post from Veruca Salt (I’m in love with her), The Parsnip Revolt are winning important fans and leading their own rebellious revolt all the way to musical freedom. A Sunshine Report forecasts a bright and burning musical longevity for a band on their atmospheric rise.
In addition to Giampa, Williams, Fin and Mellon, others musicians on A Sunshine Report include Kenny Kearns (piano/keyboards) and Derek Chafin (guitar/keyboards/harmonies).
For more information on the band or A Sunshine Report, go to theparsniprevolt.com.