The Parson Red Heads Yearling (Deluxe Version)
Second Motion Records
[HARMONIOUS COUNTRY-POP] Re-releasing an album less than two years after the original seems premature. But according to the Parson Red Heads—the gleeful and partially redheaded Portland-based quartet—its new 17-track deluxe version of 2011’s Yearling represents a special and overlooked period in the band’s career. Recorded in Los Angeles and stirring little buzz the first time through, the album’s sunny country-pop tunes center around whole-hearted themes of growth, exploration and change. Sonically, Yearling blends bright four-part harmonies, twangy guitars and rich pedal steel riffs into simple song structures and cleanly produced recordings. The deluxe version also tacks on six extra tracks from Murmurations, the group’s 2012 EP born from the aforementioned batch of L.A. sessions. Between frontman Evan Way’s affable vocals and the abundance of buoyant melodies, the lengthy compilation sounds endearingly genuine, but its straightforward agreeability leaves one hoping for some bumps to break up the comfortable ride. The record’s less predictable decisions prove the most successful—for instance, when the band opens up the end of “When You Love Somebody” with dueling electric guitars, or when Way pushes his voice until it cracks in “Hold On.” Those are the moments the Red Heads need to hang on to and expand upon.
SEE IT: Parson Red Heads play Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with He's My Brother She's My Sister and Rayland Baxter, on Thursday, Jan. 24. 9 pm. $12. 21+.