We Can Make The World Stop
New album by Alun Parry
Reviewed by Matt Ford
Alun Parry - a Liverpool-based songwriter whose work displays a passionate social commentary via astute storytelling - offers his latest release at a time when society is changing before our very eyes. While we all panic and wonder where our next pay packet is coming from, Parry crafts songs which he claims are designed to "stir your conscience as well as your heart, challenge your views and maybe even change them". Whether or not he is successful in his objective is purely down to the individual, but there is no denying the intensity of Parry's performance and spirit.
The songs here are - with the exceptions of the more reflective moments, such as 'Run Patsy Run' and 'Together' - foot-stopping, fist-clenching, air-punching anthems which will doubtless hit home for many working class listeners, and provide ample singalong moments at Parry's future gigs (of which there are many already scheduled, both locally and around the UK). It's fitting that Parry's music should resonate with his audience in this way, as these songs represent folk music in its purest sense; they are songs for real people, dealing with a variety of real issues, many of which which affect all of us in a very real sense. The internet-themed rock and roll satire of 'Princess Deborah' is certainly a light-hearted moment, but for the most part the lyrical content here is hard-hitting and unrelenting. 'Waiting For The Lovers' tells the story of two gay lovers facing gang violence, while in 'Take The Mother's Name', Parry debates polyamory in patriarchal society.
'John Lennon Said' is a particularly noteworthy moment, as Parry channels Lennon himself while listing various historical figures as a means of musing upon human nature. However, the most powerful moment on this collection is reserved for the song which closes the album, the rousing 'All Hail To The Market'. Parry's lyrics describe the market crash and its effect on bosses and workers alike, and he ends the song urging working people to unite in the face of adversity.
If we are to think of Alun Parry as a folk singer or a protest singer, then it's certainly apt that the lyrics are the main focus of attention here. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a catchy tune - and Parry has enough of those to keep the casual listener interested - but it's the message that the songs convey which is paramount. In these times of struggle, it's worth investigating Alun Parry and others like him, as you may find that these songs have the potential to help you understand some of the problems you may be facing in your own life.
Parry's own Liverpool Working Class Music Festival runs from September 13th - 16th, and takes place at The Picket on Jordan Street. 'We Can Make The World Stop' is out now on Irregular Records, and can be purchased from Alun Parry's website: http://parrysongs.co.uk/go/
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