Shortcut – Parchman Farm EP

By Isaac Wolf

“Down-and-dirty fuzz rock with reckless abandon and, most importantly, soul,” write the promoters of Parchman Farm, describing the release of the NoCal garage band’s EP. Down-and-dirty fuzz rock? Excuse me?

The album needs a new label—from the Surgeon General: “Warning: This noise may increase the risk of aneurysms. Although it will definitely not be confused with music, this album contains primal screams, lame lyrics, and other garage band ignominies.”

Each of the five songs on the Parchman Farm’s EP goes something like this: Guitarist Allyson Baker and bassist Carson Binks begin an unmemorable but blazingly loud riff, and drummer Chris Labreche joins in the cacophony. At this point, lead singer Eric Shea begins to wail.

The words are hard to make out, but they’re not really important. By the time you realize you can’t make them out, you already understand that Shea is very angry and that your ears hurt very much. (To Baker’s credit, the guitar lines are fresh, giving the EP a distinct but mild Led Zeppelin flavor.)

Parchman Farm, by the way, is the Mississippi plantation built in 1900 that became a breeding ground for the arts, generating music and literature. You, dear reader, can draw your own conclusions from a loud, angry NoCal butt-rock band drawing their title from the unexpected fruits of what was essentially a forced labor camp.

“Say Yeah,” the fourth song, begins with great potential but quickly loses itself in the sea of noise. The track starts with a pleasant bass line and what sound like cowbells, making this reviewer hopeful that this track would redeem the previous three. Instead, what follows is asinine: “When there’s mud on the street/You gotta wipe off your feet and say, ‘Yeah.’ When there’s smoke in the air/Just let it float through your hair and say, ‘Yeah.'”

Yeah, I guess.