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Anders Parker - Skyscraper/Crow
CD Review by Clint Rock on 9/30/2009   

The double-disc Skyscraper/Crow is the latest offering from acclaimed singer/songwriter Anders Parker. Released on Bladen County Records, the conceptual release is considered a fifth official solo venture from Parker, although it actually joins the ranks of an impressive catalog of over sixteen albums spanning Parkerís fifteen-year career.

According to Parker, Skyscraper/Crow is intended as one-half of a four-part experiment that will veer from stripped down acoustic folk, to electronica, to improvisational guitar work, and back to straight-ahead rock. Having recently moved from New York City to Burlington Vermont, the project reflects Parkerís lifestyle changes as he transitions between these two locations.

The first disc, Skyscraper, is the electro-pop side of the project. It functions almost as a bittersweet farewell note to New York City. While writing Skyscraper, Parker says that he would develop a beat and chord structure for the songs and then ride the subway until he had written lyrics. Parkerís feelings toward New York City are evident in the lyrics to songs like "Easy," with the opening lines, "When you find youíre in too deep/You canít wake up and you canít sleep/and the trains are all off line/Under pounded city streets/Through the heavy-leaded heat/Always moving on some line."

The second disc, the barebones guitar and vocal Crow, is folk music in all its simplistic glory. This half of the release gathers its name from Parkerís move to Burlington, VT, onto a block inhabited by innumerable crows. Many of the tracks on this disc also seem to reflect a feeling of change or loss that often comes with a change of location. This feeling varies from meditations on lost love and drifts in relationships to, ultimately, an acknowledgement of the vast emotional gulf between individuals. In the lyrics of "We Walked On," Parker asks, "What happened to our love/Did it all go away/Lost along the trail/Lost on the gone highway." Crow has an overriding existential theme, as well. A prime example can be found in the Neil Young-esque "In the Wind," with the opening verse, "Think about life/Days go on and on/Some friends fade away/Some are reborn/The flowers wither and die/But then return/We are clouds and rain/We are in the wind."

Though very different from each other, both halves of Skyscraper/Crow show a definite departure from Parkerís more rock-driven work with his band Varnaline, his own earlier solo work, and even the experimental work he did in the nineties with the cult band Space Needle. However, this double album also exhibits some of Parkerís best work to date. Standout tracks include Skyscraperís "Easy" and "So Far Away," and Crowís "Second Skin," "Here We Are," and "In the Wind."

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