Album Review: Tess Parks – Blood Hot

Published On November 18, 2013 | By Huw Woodward | Albums, Music

Ever wondered what Oasis would have sounded like if they’d have just kicked out Liam Gallagher, recruited Lana Del Rey as their new vocalist and written some chilled out spacey songs for the masses? No? Never mind, its an interesting concept though isn’t it? If you’ve found yourself stuck in thought after that question and are trying to imagine such a musical combination, don’t despair, there’s a solution to your longing and it comes in the shape of Tess Parks. Indeed, a self proclaimed rock n roll adorer, its not surprising the young singer/songwriter from Toronto has sparked up interest in the UK after she moved to London at 17. With a suitable amount of hype building throughout the year, Parks offers us her debut effort Blood Hot.

Tess Parks - Blood HotOpening track Somedays has a the kind of jaunty rock solid beat that doesn’t stray far away from Beatles classic Revolution and Park’s smouldering voice compliments the style quite fittingly. Single Open Your Mind, as the title would suggest, is more along the lines of a psychedelic yet brash number comparable with Rolling Stones classic Gimme Shelter. Its clear to see that Parks’ classic rock influences are planted firmly on her sleeve as carefree and mesmerising riffs can be heard throughout. However rather than just a tip of the hat to the genre, the entire record seems to immerse itself completely in the psychedelic influenced style and it can get a little… tiresome.

Slow burners such as Refugee Camp and Walk Behind Your House both feel a bit long winded and never really progress to anywhere special. Indeed what Blood Hot could have done with is a few more stompers, something to get the heart racing. For the majority of the album, Parks keeps us at a less exciting pace. The musicality is impressive enough though and the album’s real saving grace comes in the form of Parks’ soft but striking voice. Her low croon has the kind of brooding and atmospheric quality that transports you into the heart of her enticing melodies, much like shoegaze royalty My Bloody Valentine, just without the fuzzed up shoegaze guitars.

The troubling thing with purposely retro music such as this is that it will always feel a bit pre-owned for lack of a better term. Whilst obviously well crafted and impressively recorded, there isn’t really anything that stretches the imagination with Tess Parks which in a sense goes against the vision of psychedelia, to amaze. Where bands like Tame Impala and Temples take classic sounds and make them into something new, Parks leaves her songs a bit too bare, making for a disappointingly formulaic and predictable album. Her talent is obvious, however if the intention was to expand minds, Blood Hot doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

2.5 / 5 stars     

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