Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe - I Declare Nothing - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe - I Declare Nothing

by Jeff Penczak Rating:7 Release Date:2015-07-10

Canadian youngster, Parks recorded her debut album for Alan McGee’s new 359 Music imprint in 2013. Brian Jonestown Massacre lynchpin Newcombe was impressed with the album and the duo decided to make a record together when their schedules aligned over Newcombe’s Berlin studio.

This is the result. 'Newc' basically performs all the music (bass, drums, acoustic/fuzz guitar, organ, mellotron) and Parks lays down an eerie, sexy, swaggering, some might say boozy drawl (accurately described by one reviewer as Patti Smith on “Quaalude! Quaalude! Quaalude!”) over the languid backing; Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star is another signpost.

Their Record Store Day single ‘Cocaine Cat’, is included for those who missed it. Many of the tracks have a dreamy, hazy vibe with Park’s sleepy delivery serpentining around Newc’s glacial, druggy backing. If you ever wondered what BJM might sound like with a female vocalist, this is your answer. Newc’s guitar playing never got the respect it deserved, and he is at the “peak” [wink wink] of his powers here (Gone” is particularly impressive, and also includes Newc on backing vox). ‘German Tangerine’ seems influenced by Marianne Faithfull – all smoky delivery and come-hither theatrics, ‘October 2’ introduces a swampy, bluesy aura to the session, and the switch to acoustic guitar on ‘Mama’ adds a much-needed variety to the arrangements.

Which leads me to suggest that if there are any drawbacks to the album, one could argue that there is a sameness to the tracks that may wear thin by the time you get to side 2, but, hey, the Ramones played the same song across nearly 15 albums and you won’t hear me complaining. Besides, once Parks draws you inter her black widow web of wonders, that voice will lull you into submission and you’ll do anything and follow her anywhere for more, more, more.

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