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"Parker w/Basia Lyjak @ The Horseshoe"

The members of Parker are no newcomers to the Canadian music scene, having been associated with several reputable bands for over a decade. I recently received their new CD "Bombshell", but I'll save most of the pertinent information for when I review the actual CD, probably next week sometime. But for now, let's just say that they don't really sound like anybody else on the indie scene at the moment, and because of that, their music may require a bit of a digestion period before it's fully appreciated. Last night must have been a tough one for them, because the crowds had pretty much subsided by the time they hit the stage. At times it felt as if they were playing a private show for yours truly, but if that's the case, then they must have a mad crush on me, because they were seriously playing their hearts out. Their musical talent is undeniable, and lead vocalist Tom McNeil has a certain awkwardness about him that I think, given a bigger crowd, would have made people smile. The songs are pop music gold, and his voice was pitch perfect, as he belted them out with passion and power. I was glad to see that their last song of the evening seemed to draw some attention from those who were hanging out at the bar, thanks in part to Thomas Ryder Payne's mad skillz as a wicked awesome guitarist. That song in particular ended with an all out musical jam of sorts, that would not have sounded out of place at a Dears or Besnard Lakes show. Furthermore, I've been humming "Love Myself" in my head all day, so they must have something. I hope that next time I get to see them with a more enthusiastic crowd in attendance, because I'm sure that they would excel in that type of setting.

- ItsNotTheBandIHateItsTheirFans

"Bombshell review"

A few weeks ago I had gone to see a band named Parker live at The Horseshoe, and although the crowds were quite small, I thought the band had put on a pretty impressive show. The problem with Parker is that every band needs some sort of pigeonhole so that people like me can easily make a comparison or two and give or withhold a recommendation. Parker cannot be pigeonholed. They're a very unique band that really does sound like nobody else on the indie scene at the moment. That's why, upon first listen, I wasn't even sure if I liked them or not. However, several listens later it becomes hard to deny the fact that a catchy song is a catchy song and although an artist may fall out of the parameters of what a person like me usually listens to, it can still be quite enjoyable.

The first noteworthy point is that the bands' talent cannot be denied. For the most part, all of the instrumentation is provided by Thomas Ryder Payne who, if you look at his bio, has a pretty impressive list of credentials. He's no stranger to the Canadian music scene and he wrote the bulk of what is on the CD. His collaborator is Tom McNeil, who is also the lead singer and has a very polished and distinctive voice. Not every song is a home run but there are some very noteworthy mentions. The album opener "Twenty Twenty" does give off that distinct 80's soundtrack vibe, like something out of The Breakfast Club or another John Hughes-y type of film. It is a true slice of pop music gold and it continues to build as the song progresses. A slight giggle and some jazzy finger snaps open track three, entitled "Love Myself." During the verse, Tom tries to pull off a slight Jim Morrison before taking a sharp left turn into a heavily layered male-female chorus. As I mentioned in my last review, the song tends to stick in my head for hours after it's played. I can't help it, but I like it. "Just Say When" is the only song that is easy to incorporate a little comparison drop into. It's got a definite Coldplay / Snow Patrol / Pilate sound and the orchestration on the song is certainly uplifting. If there's one obvious single on the CD, this is it. By the way, at approximately the 3 minute mark, the song takes off into true anthemic territory. The other real highlight for me is "Head Down" which is the most stripped down track on the album. A simple little Beatle-esque ditty that really stands out amongst the rest of the album, which for the most part is very pristine in its production. There are other good songs, as well as a few that don't really do it for me, but the ones I mentioned are definitely enough to recommend the album. Overall, although it may take a few listens to sink in, Bombshell is a promising debut that demonstrates the power of a well crafted pop song.
- ItsnotthebandIhateit'sthefans

"Review for Parker"

Where only the name is new, Toronto-based Parker is no stranger to the stage or recording studio.

Surrounded by talented session people and the extended band the principles of Parker who brings you this outstanding 12-song, debut album are Tom McNeil (singer/songwriter) and Thomas Ryder Payne
(songwriter/singer/producer). Tom is lead singer of Parker and may be known better in the Toronto music scene as the leader singer/songwriter in the band Freshwater Drum that recorded and released two albums; he has also given the push several times with new bands in the recording studio.
Thomas plays nearly every instrument including the string and horn arrangements on Bombshell; previously in the group Joydrop for nearly six years he has also enjoyed extensive recording time with up and coming groups.

All songs on the CD Bombshell are written (Tom and Thomas), performed, recorded and engineered by Parker.

Bombshell opens with the high-energy toe tapper "Twenty-Twenty". The band's harmonies shine all the way through it's infectiously charming chorus...

"...then again they only talk in money
then again hind sight's twenty-twenty
they've got nothing to show if any
one headache too many
and it's two weeks to election day
it's two weeks to election day..."

"18 Stories" down is track two, one of my favourites of many on this disc. The sound is reminiscent of a Wild Strawberries melody, afterall Thomas Ryder Payne performed as a session musician with the group. The fresh rhythm which carries the song is a listening pleasure.

Amber Scott and Kathryn Rose share vocals and harmonies with lead singer Tom McNeil throughout the CD which are spectacular; they sincerely compliment one another.

A woman's giggle, snapping fingers and a very sexy vibe will greet you in the opening of "Love Myself", the third track on Bombshell. This is the only song on the CD that's written alone by Thomas Ryder Payne. It's slightly haunting, slightly libido charging. Light a few scented candles, put this on and you'll be tripping the night el fantastico; and be sure to invite someone to enjoy the experience with you. This song was recently featured on the Global Television sitcom "The Jane Show".

Up next is more brilliant songwriting in "Cloudy (Chance of Rain)". It's not complex writing that would have a coffee house crowd break off into groups to discuss the music; it's the purity of the simplest thoughts that create a mental image bigger and bolder than HDTV. Amber Scott adds to the songwriting of this song.

By now you have noticed the sound and direction of Parker in this CD Bombshell is very clever, mature music that could easily chart on any Adult Contemporary station across Canada and I have a hunch they'll be warmly welcomed in Europe and the United States.

Track 5 "Just Say When" takes you for a romantic, rhythmic journey. Alison Porter's violin performance is beautiful. Although totally original their's a distinctive hint of Coldplay in this song that my ears recognize.

A slight splash of Latin jazz from the trumpet of Sarah McElcheron can be heard in "Four Minute Warning" and it's bittersweet lyrics of love and loss...

"...well you threw me out and you stood me up
table for one 'til the sun come around
received your postcard
three weeks too late
are you ready for the fallout?
happy birthday..."

"So Wonderful Beautiful" is track 7 and what a music experience awaits you in the opening of this song. It's impressive arrangement segues into a great piano driven, pseudo-Fab 4 up-tempo jingle from Thomas Ryder Payne.

With the fresh, clean sound of what you would hear on a Pet Shop Boys CD "What Happened To Me" delivers an equally, relaxation sensation. More distinctive, original piano playing for you to enjoy.

The slightly more progressive "Oblivion" has a great beat with it's drums from Thomas and more trumpet from Sarah. Stellar harmonies come racing in towards the end of this selection as it closes with an amazing, sci-fi like musical arrangement.

Track 10 caught me off guard. A slight Beatles vibe can be heard in Parker's music but I thought I was listening to Paul McCartney singing and strumming on his guitar when "Head Down" came out of my speakers. Mind blowing how similar Tom sounds like Sir Paul in this selection. I'm smiling all the way through this and loving it. I've said their's not a lot of feel-good, straight-from-the-heart music being written and recorded this decade and this is one of the few songs that set the new standard.

Unique guitar playing will be found in "Lip-Sync" along with it's impressive guitar solo in addition to standout harmonies.

"S.S. Companion" closes Bombshell. Another up-tempo song with simple lyrics that say so much.

The artwork on the CD cover, back and liner notes is high end professional photography. As I write this I'm enjoying going through the liner notes, song-by-song appreciating each page for it's chosen selection of art used -


New CD release "BOMBSHELL"



parker is fronted and creatively built around songs co-written by singer/songwriter Tom McNeil and songwriter/singer/producer Thomas Ryder Payne.
The new CD "BOMBSHELL" by parker examines the point in our lives where we reach moments of personal crisis and how close we come to destruction in our everyday existence.

Tom McNeil was the lead singer and principal songwriter for the popular Toronto band Freshwater Drum, who were a constant fixture in the Toronto music scene for over a decade. The band built a strong following sharing the stage with such acts as: The Barenaked Ladies, The Lowest of the Low, Edie Brickell, 54-40 and Finger 11.They released their first album "Classical Fish", followed by their second release"Diving Horse", for which they received the Factor Independent Loan award.

Thomas Ryder Payne is a Toronto-based producer, songwriter,multi-instrumentalist, performer and sound designer. As a session musician, he has played with Howie Beck,Wild Strawberries, Kathryn Rose, Jonathan Seet and many more.
After spending 6 years recording and touring with the band Joydrop (including writing the top 20 single “Sometimes Wanna Die”),
Thomas has been working mostly as a producer (focusing on up and coming artists like The Populars, Rebekah Higgs, The Blue Raincoats, among others) and as a composer/sound designer for the theatre,receiving 2 Dora nominations for Leo (Tarragon) and bloom (Modern Times) last year.
Thomas is also a prolific songwriter, working as a solo act and in collaboration with others artists.

**parker's song "Love Myself" from their new release, "BOMBSHELL" was recently featured on

the Global Television sitcom "The Jane Show".

**parker are looking to start their tour in
November, 2007.