Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe – I Declare Nothing (2015)

I Declare Nothing – the sensation of swimming through Guinness, drinking in the velvety goodness. An album doused in a shoegaze torpor, yet the heavy use of repetition and deep shifting grooves transforms this into slow motion dance music.

I Declare Nothing is a sand dune. Individual grains would slip through your fingers come together to form a hard indestructible mass. Yet sand shifts relentlessly. I Declare Nothing is desert dance music. Let it wash over you.

The bottom line is this album is essential for any fan of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Yet that is to downplay the role of Tess Parks, who makes the transition from solo artist to band leader with the sort of style you come to expect from the panda-eyed chanteuse. She’s an incredibly charismatic performer, and swoonishly magnetic.

Her collaboration with Anton Newcombe has already hit rich dirt, with the release of their first album together, with hopefully many more to come down the years.

cover tess parks

‘Cocaine Cat’ smoulders like fire, doped up bass rendering you senseless. Descending into a swirling whirlpool your sense of perception comes unstuck.

Click to watch the video for ‘Cocaine Cat’

‘October 2nd’ is almost gut wrenchingly slow with atmospheric keys and a riff that sucker punches.

‘Mama’ pits jaunty riff and groovy beat against squawking, snaking guitar.

The dappling guitars of ‘Peace Defrost’ could easily have escaped from Methodrone and likewise ‘Gone’ from Take It From The Man.

Anton doesn’t sing, but maybe taking a seat and concentrating on writing and guitar playing is providing him with a holiday from the responsibility of touring with an endless group of musicians who seem to really annoy him. When I saw them live at Manchester’s Ruby Lunge the gig was an incredibly well-mannered one considering the BJM’s reputation for bickering. As a band they’re tighter than two coats of paint.

Tess is pure star material and will win scores of fans off the back of Anton’s championing of her. Having witnessed her solo act to about 40 people last year at The Castle it’s a safe bet she won’t be playing to crowd’s that size again.

I Declare Nothing bleeds together into a melted treasure trove of jewels that causes wonder and melancholy at the same time. The constant battle between downbeat and summery provides an arresting time, leaving the listener unsure whether to wallow in misery or get a choc-ice.


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