The long fray

Every day, it seems like the 70s come into vogue more and more. Movies, novels, TV shows, music, you name it. And with a certain someone in the White House, I imagine "louche" will be the word of the year for 2017. Stepping into this atmosphere is the Parson Red Heads, which has refined its sound into near pitch-perfect splendor.

The Parson Red Heads
Blurred Harmony
(Fluff and Gravy)

A wonderful amalgam of the Byrds, Big Star and Gram Parsons, from the first note this album transports listeners to 1973. Maybe 1974, before Nixon's resignation. A feeling of looseness in the limbs, the very fabric of society slowly fraying. The Jayhawks have approached this feel at times, particularly on Sound of Lies, but where those Minneapolis boys eventually turned the sound sour, this Portland outfit keeps its sunny side up.

There is joy in dissolution. I suppose one way to handle the destruction of our way of life is to simply smile, take a hit, harmonize a bit and then smile some more. These songs aren't sunny days; they're smoggy sunsets. But they do wrap up the ears in a fuzzy blanket.

Where I live, we've got mobilization squads and kids ditching school to march in the streets. I saw one guy walking in a march wearing a Target (or some other mass-retailer) reprint of an Evil Empire shirt. Kinda undercut the protest, but I dig the energy anyway. The Parson Red Heads put their energy into simply getting by. And sometimes getting by is the greatest thing a person can do.

Jon Worley

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