Following up an excellent debut album like ‘Paradise Is Pocket Sized‘ is never easy but The Parish Music Box have waited and refined themselves and released ‘What Did You Expect‘. The songs on this album are slightly more heavier yet haven’t lost their souls. They have a spot on the Isle Of Wight Festival 2013 also to launch this impressive album. So if you love your rock to have a country feel then this band from Chiswick should be for you. I do believe though if they were an American based band fame would have come quickly for them.
The album starts with ‘Roman Knows‘ which was released a couple of years ago as a single, so this is a strong track to begin with and thus sets the bar at a high level. With a choral backing and strings for good measure this deserved more airplay than it received. Next is another up tempo song ‘I Should Have Known‘, that will have you your foot tapping after a few bars. There’s some wonderful wah-wah guitar midway through that adds to the song effectively. It does help that they have a singer in Andy, who can really sing prominently shown on the ballad ‘Hole In My Heart‘. “Dirty water found a hole in my heart” he delivers so crystal clear and with such conviction on this love story gone wrong. ‘Man Of Steel‘ continues upon this theme with an inclination of being worn down and leaves your mind torn by the heartfelt lyrics.
Just when you’ve been drawn down and you feel there’s no escape, up pops ‘Godlike‘, with its tabla sounding beginning. This is possibly the best track within this collection. It demands you listen as it’s full of vigour and hope especially in the sing-a-long chorus. The title track ‘What Did We Really Expect‘ is a musicians song. Everyone in the band gets to shine on their instruments within the duration of it. A heads up then for the production something that can make or break an album. Th road song ‘Venus On A Motorbike‘ is another gusto affair and hopefully they will fulfil their lyrics “we only get what we deserve“. Had this been sung by the likes of Steve Earle we’d all be applauding it. Keeping up the momentum is ‘Velocity‘ and as they say “you’re doing fine” has the rhythm section in top gear throughout. I am sure this will become a live favourite.
Now ‘Chiswick Green‘ is a song I’ve had a few years as a demo, but this incarnation has certainly been matured over time. Based on the band’s location in London this ballad has a cool country feel to it with the slide guitar displaying a rewarding outing. ‘What Did You Really Expect‘ ends with ‘My Love’s Been Sleeping‘, again based on a relationship which seems to have turned sour. “...keep me close, send me no flowers“, is the chorus line that is really quite apt. Literally you need to keep this album close to your ears, though please do send them plaudits. Cool 9/10.