Johnny Parry Chamber Orchestra - debut album Fields & Birds & Things [Watch Video]

Johnny Parry

Johnny Parry Chamber Orchestra - 'Fields & Birds & Things' debut album released 2nd April 2012

Live at Union Chapel, London: 9th June 2012

Often the blurb presented with music from a new act lays out handy comparisons and pigeonholes that group a genre/style/aesthetic, the subtext of which is always the short cut: 'if you like this artist, you'll appreciate this…'

With Johnny Parry Chamber Orchestra there are no such short cuts. Their debut 'Fields & Birds & Things' possesses a unique, baroque beauty, barely touching on conventional frames of reference, and all the better for it.

Parry previously recorded in his solo moniker accompanied by varying amounts of orchestration. 'Fields & Birds & Things' marks the debut release from the now solidified Johnny Parry Chamber Orchestra of thirty plus players.

As their name suggests, 'Fields & Birds & Things' was recorded with a chamber orchestra, an ensemble Parry also performs with to create his stunning, acclaimed live sets. The uplifting harmonies of opener 'Keep Kicking & Screaming' possess a Beirut-esque gaiety, in contrast to the melancholy funeral march of 'Lie In A Hole' and 'God Still Loves Me', where Parry's gravelly vocal takes on a Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits holiness.

Then there's the density and atmosphere of 'Rebuild It Piece By Piece' that recalls TV On The Radio's ability to blend soul with darkness, and 'Little Prayer No. 14' following with harmonies and horn section in full swing. Plus, we surely can't ignore 'Love & Death', a track as dramatic as its title suggests, complete with operatic soprano and cello sextet.

It's an album of self-discovery and a celebration, if you will, of life and its two driving forces - the aforementioned Love and Death. Lyrically and musically it's a powerful, personal record, at times verging on biographical. At other times, imaginative scenarios are used as vehicles for exploration. 'Find Your Way Home' turns grief into hope as a deceased loved one is visualised making their way to the afterlife while 'Men Will Hang' is a man's musings on love conquering all, as he awaits his fate at the gallows.

Johnny Parry is founder of Lost Toys Records and also works as a music producer, arranger and teacher. It is through the arranging work that he met the collective of musicians who perform on 'Fields & Birds & Things'.

Live he performs with the thirty-piece orchestra to a backdrop of films made by Parry and international artist Andy Holden.

Johnny Parry has played with Mercury prize winner Talvin Singh, revered artist Michael Nyman, Turner prize winner Martin Creed, Brit winner Beth Orton and BBC Jazz Award winner Seb Rochford.

On 9th June 2012 Johnny Parry Chamber Orchestra will be performing tracks from 'Fields & Birds & Things' at London's Union Chapel (dates and information subject to change).

Johnny Parry Chamber Orchestra - Keep Kicking and Screaming video:

"A brooding blend of gothic songs and Nyman-esque instrumentation" - Time Out

"Parry's poems of morbid carnality and romance are framed by heavy velvet curtains of stylized theatrical gloom" - Uncut

"Johnny Parry deserves recognition and praise. Consistently tackling unusual projects and concepts, his performances are simply beautiful" - The 405

"Extraordinary!" - Rolling Stone

Johnny Parry Official Website

Lost Toys Records Official Website

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