Parker Longbough’s vocal in some of the songs on his new album Green and Gold/Drink the Hemlock is a little rough around the edges, but it’s always as cutting an agent of vulnerability as any lyric ever could be on its own. To be clear as to what I mean by this, you’d best take a look at some of the LP’s cornerstone songs – such as “Avalanche Beacon” and “Bad Attitude” – too fully understand my point. In Green and Gold/Drink the Hemlock, Longbough puts tonality before everything else and ultimately submits what could be described as his most tuneful and tenaciously experimental record so far.
“Two Months Out,” “Governor’s Cup” and “We Go Golfing” are much less focused on showcasing Longbough’s vocal skillset as they are throwing down some gigantic grooves and quaking distortion, but their narratives are just as valid as those in the more simplistic “Sleep Comfortably” and album-opening “The Statement is the Answer” without question. There’s not a stitch of wasted space in this tracklist; every song is bursting at the seams with an orgasmic vitality, and even when it’s understated (such as in “Breakdown the Acronyms”), an uncontrollable punk rock rebelliousness is never too far from our view in Green and Gold/Drink the Hemlock.
“Burbank Safari” and “The Statement is the Answer” both could have used a little more definition in their basslines, but I think that I can understand what Longbough was trying to accomplish by constructing these tracks the way he did. In eliminating some of the heavier bass tones from these particular songs, he balances out some of the more overwhelming numbers here perfectly, creating a much more seamless fluidity between the different tracks than there would have been otherwise. It’s a smart move in the grander scheme of things, and a seductive way of keeping us engaged from beginning to end.
It would be really interesting to hear how some of these songs sound in a live setting, mostly because tracks like “Rising Black,” “Burbank Safari” and “We Go Golfing” already feel so assaultive that they could potentially do some real damage in a small-scale indie club. Parker Longbough celebrates the audacity of volume in Green and Gold/Drink the Hemlock without borrowing too much from the forerunners of the noise-rock genre, and in 2019, this is unfortunately something that should be cherished as a rare gem. He’s speaking to a very specific audience, but while some might see that as being artistically close-minded, I credit him for being as true to his medium as he is here.
Green and Gold/Drink the Hemlock is absolutely one of the more eccentric LPs I’ve come across in recent memory, but don’t get me wrong – it falls under the category of required listening for most alternative rock aficionados without a doubt. I had only listened to a little bit of his first three albums before hearing this record for the first time just this past November, but if these ten songs are providing us any indication as to what he’s planning on making in the studio next, I’ll be keeping Parker Longbough on my radar for quite some time to come.