James Parenti recently released his sophomore effort entitled Don't Be Gone Long, Ellen. In all honesty I’m usually not too intrigued by concept albums but I thought the subject which Don't Be Gone Long, Ellen which revolved around was fascinating. The album is about love in the face of mental illness. I was just thinking of all the different ways you explore this subject. Can the idea and feeling of love come down to anything else than chemical reactions in one's brains? How does someone who is suffering from mental illness experience love?
Parenti mentions artists like Sufjan Stevens and Elliott Smith on his bandcamp page. Suffice it to say if you enjoy Sufjan Stevens and Elliott Smith you won't have to make much a leap to enjoy Parenti.
The songs on Don't Be Gone Long, Ellen revolve around fully strummed acoustic guitar chords, drums and bass. I thought the music was pleasant but the vocals are truly what make the songs stand out. Parenti knows what he is doing in terms of finding the intimacy and stillness in his voice that is needed to make these songs work. He sounds as if he is singing two feet from you and like a Sufjan Steven or Elliott Smith album can hear the subtleties and nuances within his voice.
He opens with “Hope That You Will Come” which begins with slow moving drums and feedback, which almost sounds like it could be the beginning to a post-rock song. Once the acoustic guitar comes into the mix you know that's not the way the song is going. The song is one of the best on the album and the lyrics “I Hope That You Will Come” are prolific and powerful when he sings them. Fantastic opener.
The first two songs could be hard for some people to get through because of the amount of melancholy. “Sleepwalker” also had a good dose of melancholy but clean guitar parts also create a sense of hope. The same could be said about “Aren't You Tired?” which certainly has an overt Elliott Smith vibe. “Back to Sleep” features hushed vocal performances while “Out of Reach” feels like it has a hint of jazz.
As much as I liked this album it's one that has a time and place. I don’t think it would be a good choice to played in a crowded bar on a Friday night or play too much on repeat. Some of the melodies are gorgeous and when Parenti finds an inspired moment it works out extremely well. Recommended.
Become A Fan
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook