From the album cover, my mind began to make some preliminary assumptions. But I was wrong with all of them. And it was great to see the old saying come to life – don’t judge a book by its cover. I saw this beautiful girl in a bright -lit field and I had her pegged as the typical artist built on acoustic and some assembly of a few exaggerated love experiences. And all the while, I wasn’t resenting of my false pretenses, in fact I welcomed the music without any more thought.
Kathleen Parrish’s voice made it immediately clear that I should prepare to reevaluate my impression, which was a great realization and came with the reward of having three more songs yet to view through this new lens. The acoustic nod I made earlier should have been toward the piano as that is the gorgeous crutch on which this album leans, blending wonderfully with Parrish’s jazzy character and alluring passages of alto.
The songs aren’t long on Veins, but they sufficiently establish the moods and surroundings that our songstress exuding while she wrote, at least in most likely sense. She carries a great sense of alternative rock that brings an edge to classical tapestries shaded with undertones of jazz – and it all goes down smooth.
“Hard To Breathe” might be the most intimate track and it opens a window into Parrish’s soul, vulnerable and ignited by new love (possibly.) The lyrics shape into a memorable refrain as the words paint the scene. The melody is reinforcing and really only lies within the relationship between voice and piano. It’s done with such artistry that you won’t be aware that there were only two people at work.
“Red Fleece Jacket” starts out with a quick run and has some pep in its step thanks to the drummer’s hat work. Then the feel breaks down into a lounge-like half time that sets the tone for the remainder of the song’s reprising. The chorus is poignant, not quite haunting, but it will stick with you. “Veins” is a classy jazz club standard that could still hold water in pop/rock framework. The piano has a little fun on “Weapon.” It bounces with the bass as the drums swing along managing to keep the feel light and swash. This would be a great track to see live. In fact, every track would be. Parrish is a stunning talent and a refreshing brand of singer/songwriter for the modern day.
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