Charles Parker’s “Bring Back the Sun” Record Review by Vince Andreasen
Charles Parker’s “Bring Back the Sun” is the debut release from this Baltimore native. It is a musically diverse collection of 14 songs with a central theme of love and the quest to maintain it. Production quality is quite strong. Music is well balanced, dynamic, and has a very nice presence whether listening through ear buds or cranking the volume via the home stereo. With its varying characteristics, I found it difficult to categorize. It isn’t gritty enough to be a full on rocker. But, the overall pulse, along with Charles’ earthy vocals, is beyond the norm for modern pop or contemporary music. I found it reminiscent of a mid to late 80’s record with striking guitar leads woven into layers of folk, vintage rock, and hints of R&B. Vocals have a strong presence, but aren’t over processed, which is very refreshing in today’s auto-tuned Pro Tools era. Charles’ broad range of influences is on full display throughout the record.
The opening track “Social Director” starts with an infectious guitar lead before transitioning into a vintage rock melody with some catchy transitions between the verses and chorus. This is followed by “Yasmine”, similarly up-tempo, but with an even more nostalgic appeal, where you find yourself happily tapping along to the music. Then track by track, each song delivers its own unique style and appeal, especially the appropriately named “The Calypso Song” where I particularly enjoyed hearing an island rhythm tune that wasn’t about rum or coconuts. The highlight of the record for me is “I Love to Feel the Rain”. It is quite radio friendly with a perfect balance of instrumentation of vocals. There are several moments throughout the record where musicianship takes center stage. Charles has many excellent guitar solos, the drumming is strong, solid bass lines, and an excellent use of keyboards.
I really enjoyed this record. The versatility of the arrangements gives it that ‘Something for Everyone’ vibe, yet Charles’ consistent vocal delivery makes it a cohesive compilation. It’s quite mature for a debut record. I wouldn’t classify anything as cookie-cutter or old-hat. There are 15 tracks on the digital release, which includes 14 songs and a dance remix of the title track. I recommend this to anyone who loves indie-rock with retro influences. I wasn’t familiar with Charles Parker prior to this review, but he has gained a new fan.