Alaska-based singer-songwriter Parker Longbough releases Off Front Street, his new album probing the character of people living in today’s complex world, where decisions impact those living around them.
Off Front Street follows on the heels of Parker’s previous 2021 album, Crackle/Hiss, a collection of eight tracks chronicling his time in quarantine during 2020. Recorded in solitude, Crackle/Hiss employed an array of electronic sounds, highlighting the capabilities of high-tech recording equipment.
2021 also saw Parker release his EP, 246 Tapes Volume 1, which steered clear of digital manipulation, recorded on a Tascam 246 4-track tape machine. The EP contained less conventional tracks such as “Applebee’s and a Haircut” and “Bulleyes on Easter.”
Off Front Street swings back to the middle ground, being more conventional and utilizing standard recording techniques, embracing a retro ’90s indie rock feel vaguely reminiscent of Pavement, Guided by Voices, or Dinosaur Jr.
The lyrics on Off Front Street display Parker’s gift for storytelling, including songs about the Dallas Seavey dog doping hullabaloo, a Gorilla that saved a 3-year-old at a zoo, flying Pintos, water-rationing, love post-divorce, and mad Russian scientists.
Encompassing eight tracks, entry points on the album include the title track, travelling on severe droning tones riding a tight, crisp rhythm as Parker’s drawling tenor imbues the lyrics with twangy timbres. “Wanna be Johnny” rolls out on a retro-flavoured melody harking back to the ’60. Sparkling guitars and a straightforward beat give the song jangly colours and a simple cadence.
“Photosynthetic” summons up memories of Roy Orbison covering The Hollies with twirling hues adding psychedelic layers of sound. While “Cause Your Worth It” offers textures of creamy slacker rock blended with shoegaze savours.
“Disappear Completely” starts off on ghostlike tones and then flows into a low-slung jangly melody topped by Parker’s calm, observational voice. When the guitars take on fuzzed-out textures, hints of surf-rock echo through the harmonics.
The final track, “We Missed the Exit,” showcases platinum-coloured guitars ringing out luminous tones. An austere bassline infuses the tune with fat, rolling timbres as Parker’s offhand punk-laced voice gives the lyrics grimacing aromas.
Off Front Street merges indie-rock with elements of shoegaze, slacker rock, and a stripped-down impression, which combine to inject the song with retro tangs ranging from the ’60s to the ’90s.
Off Front Street Track Listing:
1. Off Front Street
2. Wanna be Johnny
3. Please Come Over
4. The Falcon Sleeps Alone
6. Cause You’re Worth It
7. Disappear Completely
8. We Missed the Exit
Run Time: 31:28
Released Date: October 22, 2021
Record Label: Wilderhood Records