Oh My Darling

James Parm

Independent release, 2019

http://www.jamesparm.com

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/06/2019

On his debut release, Montreal-based James Parm seems to be attempting to confront some serious demons in his head. This is evident not only in the abstruse song compositions and pained vocals, but also in the jumble of influences dictating the music, as if Parm is ensuring that every detail of the feelings that haunt him is vividly expressed.

As a result, Oh My Darling is a genre-defying album. It’s like a colorful nightmare that can be intimidating but is also satisfyingly cathartic, if one braves to look it in the eye and face it head-on.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Although the disc is pretty obviously dark all around, the first half does a great job keeping the songs tight and very accessible, albeit keeping the album’s general atmosphere very much alive. The opening number “Dead Meat” is like a progressive rock track, starting off gently in a ‘60s folk-influenced way and then intensifying as it advances. This is the most exciting cut on the record.

The following two tracks, “I Know I Know I Know” and “Dying To Let You Go,” are fantastic no-nonsense guitar-rock numbers, influenced by ‘90s modern rock music with a good mix of edgy guitars and melodiousness in a hard to resist package.

The second half is clearly the eccentric side, beginning with “UR Dark,” which has a weird mix of EDM synthesizers and guitars, and ending with out-of-control jazzy drumming and cacophonous saxophones. Parm’s pain is most apparent on the bonus track “1M,” which is somewhat of an acquired taste, with its downer pianos and totally “inebriated” apathetic singing, which oozes sorrow.

The album’s longest cut “Re Arrange” is the weirdest, not only because of the length (over seven minutes), but also the reason for its length. Starting off slow and somber with gentle electronic beats and softly played guitars, its last few minutes are chaotic with droning music where everything’s a mindless blur.

Oh My Darling has an interesting backstory, involving loss and tragedy in Parm’s personal life, which explains the grit and torment in the album. But one doesn’t need a story to identify with the record’s manner and mood, because it is so genuine. The expression of Parm’s headspace might sound messy and unhinged at times, but it is nevertheless rewarding – that is, if one is willing to go along with his strange, cathartic process.

Rating: B

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