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CD REVIEW: Matthew Parmenter - Astray
By Steve Allat - 02/24/2005 - 02:50 PM EST

Artist: Matthew Parmenter
Album: Astray
CD Review: Label: Independent - Strung Out Records
Tracks: 7
Released: 2004
For Fans Of: Gowan, Yes, Genesis, Ziggy Stardust
Fav Tracks: Now, Modern Times

'Astray' is Matthew's first solo project, following 2 as front-man for the theater rock band Discipline.

A very narrative songwriter, Matthew offers up grandiose works, much in the style and theme of the classic 70's. He's even captured the same sound brilliantly.

Parmenter covers vocals and other audibles, including piano, guitar, drums, saxophone, violin, organ, synthesizers, marimba, Theremin, and Mellotron sounds. Only bass duties are delegated, falling to Matthew Kennedy to keep up, which he ably does.
The music is epic-sounding, stretching out to fill in great expanses of time & space. Changes are subtle and gentle, and there's nothing abrasive about the sound at any point. Piano grounds most of the songs and melodies and goes from a place of prominence to following along gently in the background.

While parts of this 68-minute, 7-song opus may sound a bit monotonous at first listen, there is a depth of melody that does work upon repeated tries, and the songs then differentiate themselves well. Even then, I found things a little too slow in the middle section, but the finale ' Modern Times' makes up for it by ranging from slow & soft to more uptempo and hard, with Matthew displaying his skills on every instrument.

His lyrics are social commentary - this being very narrative and half-the point - and deals with his view of life, mostly from an existential point of view, offering up questions and some answers about what's it is to be alive in this world today.

A very, very well written and performed set of tunes leads me to believe that he knows exactly what he's doing and hopefully people are paying attention, as it's one of the more interesting works that I've heard in a while, and is definitely unique in our times.

Website: Strung Out Records | Matthew Parmenter & Discipline

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