John Parish has been around seemingly forever in some incarnation or other - whether as a backing man and co-producer in PJ Harvey's band, or helping out the ever-more-hairy Eels frontman E, or releasing occasional solo records in his trademark low-key fashion. A high point might be Dance Hall At Louse Point - a mid-90's album made collaboratively with PJ Harvey that allowed his distinctive style of musicianship to come to the forefront with PJ's voice acting as a perfect foil.
Once Upon a Little Time features echoes of that album's grainy textures and creative approach to musicianship, but misses the drama provided by PJ's vocals - Parish's voice is a soft, quiet mumble, and the songs are all quite sensible and sedately paced and grown up. It hardly makes for the most exciting record of the year (despite the lo-fi, catchy "Sea Defences" and the welcome tatty shuffle of the Beefheart-esque "Even Redder Than That" and "Even Redder Than That Too"). But it is clearly a very accomplished album, similar in some respects to E's recent forays into folksy experimentalism, and I've a feeling that repeated listening will produce slow rewards.
7John Brainlove's Score