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Matthew Parmenter - All Our Yesterdays CD (album) cover


Matthew Parmenter


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Heavy Prog Team
3 stars Another stellar collection of songs from DISCIPLINE leader/founder Matthew Parmenter--with probably the best recording/mix/engineering I've ever heard from a Parmenter/Discipline album. The power and emotion of Matthew's vocal performances are unsurpassed in modern music.

Even the Country/Western instrumentation of the second half of 1. "Scheherazade" (3:40) can't spoil the amazing vocal herein. (9/10)

2. "Danse du Ventre" (2:48) plays out an absolutely gorgeous chord progression from start to finish with Frippertronics, bass, tuned and untuned percussion accompanying the piano. (9/10)

3. "Digital" (3:39) opens with piano and sustained organ chords while Matthew sings. It feels like a classic PROCUL HARUM song or something of that late-60s ilk, even in the section section with the plucked strings and the third sect with acoustic and electric guitars (which remind me very much of THE STRAWBS). Beautiful, powerful vocals. A top three song for me. (9/10)

4. "I Am a Shadow" (3:51) opens with slow piano arpeggi and bass/bass drum hits as a plaintive MP sings. Programmed drums and guitar arpeggi join in in the first chorus. Odd deep bubbling synth sound in the last 90 seconds is embellished by synth strings and airy background vocals. Very nice if a little simple. (9/10)

5. "All for Nothing" (5:08) opens with some ominous, deep piano notes that are carried forward into the vocal section. Matthew enters with his classic deep voice, enticing us into his web of emotion. Here the old Peter Hammill comparisons cannot help but take place--though I am of the opinion that Matthew is a far more powerful and skillful vocalist than Mr. Hammill. This is the most powerful song, vocal, and my favorite from this album. (10/10) 6. "All Our Yesterdays" (4:12) is another stellar example of the Parmenter gift. Moody, and broody, we are treated to an almost Edgar Allan Poe-like journey on this one--delivered and carried almost exclusively by Matthew's voice and lyric--though the guitar solo beginning at 2:52 is truly wonderful. My other top three song. (9/10)

7. "Stuff in the Bag" (5:34) opens with a bouncy piano chord play that feels quite incongruous with the mood established by the previous songs--especially the last two. This is a song that feels like it came from the 1970s- -an ELTON JOHN "Brown Dirt Cowboy"-era imitation. This is where the album begins to deteriorate in my esteem--though the production, sound and performance quality remains high, it is the song stylings that are a let down. And at 5:34 it seems to go on forever! (6/10)

8. "Inside" (5:41) beautiful piano chords and intermittent acoustic guitar chords accompany the opening vocal. Soft drum play, bass and organ join in for the chorus--and stay till the end. It's a pretty though simple song, reliant upon the lyric to keep us engaged (or not). The bass play is quite engaging--I like the levels it has in the mix--rather forward--whereas the congas that join in in the third minute are purely obnoxious they're so far forward in the mix--I actually find them detracting from my enjoyment of Matthew's truly wonderful vocal--at least, that is, until the 4:31 when Matthew shocks even me with one of the most heart-wrenching Todd- Rundgren-like vocal displays. Wow! (9/10)

9. "Consumption" (1:59) is a simple acoustic guitar accompanied song in a C/W-folk vein of delivery. Better upon repeated listens. (8/10)

10. "Hey for the Dance" (5:01) opens in classic MP/Peter Hammill fashion--even adding a second track of vocals to the lead in the second verse. Piano, cymbals, and accordion accompany this vocal (auto-duet) through the first two minutes until a full band sound crashes in giving it a definite Green Linnet/Scottish folk song feel. At 3:10 it would seem the song was ending but then a jazzy piano riff shifts the song into BILLY JOEL Turnstiles-era music (with a bluesy guitar solo) to the end). Weird, odd, incongruous. (7/10)

4.5 stars; an excellent addition to any prog lovers music collection.

Report this review (#1552032)
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review #27. For those who aren't familiar with his name, I should inform you that Matthew Parmenter was the mastermind behind the American Progressive Rock band 'Discipline'. After the band broke up, he followed a solo career, and he released 3 studio albums so far, with 'All Our Yesterdays' being his latest effort. (Some time ago, I had Matthew as special guest in my radio show Prog & Roll, so I had to listen to this album lots of times in order to prepare a small presentation).

The album includes 10 songs and has a total running time of almost 40 minutes. Almost all the songs have a rather dark & melodic style, with the piano being the dominant instrument. In 'All Our Yesterdays' Matthew is playing all the instruments, with the drums being the only exception. As for Matthew's influences, they surely do have a name: Peter Hammill! As I wrote above, I listened to the album lots of times, and I have to say that it really grows on you. I wasn't so much impressed at start, but after a few listens (at a proper hour), I really loved it! Matthew's voice is colorful and passionate, and as the music's slowly revealing its strength accompanies his voice perfectly.

I remember that I was trying to pick 3 songs - at first - to play at the show, and I couldn't choose. I really loved all the songs, each one for different reasons. And I still can't decide which my favorite songs are; depends on the time of the day and my mood I guess. But if I had to pick some, then my choice would be: Sceherazade, I Am a Shadow, All for Nothing, All Our Yesterdays and Hey for the Dance. I have all 3 albums of Matthew Parmenter in my collection, and I have to say that this is maybe the more "mature" album he ever recorded. Maybe his devoted fans will be kind of disappointed, but I really believe that this is a brilliant album! Highly Recommended, especially to the fans of Peter Hammil and Van Der Graaf Generator!

My rating would be between 3.5 and 4.0 stars.

Report this review (#1577193)
Posted Friday, June 10, 2016 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars This 2016 album was a long time coming, as Matthew's last solo album 'Horror Express' came out in 2008, but good things come to those who wait. This is the first of the three to feature Matthew on the cover and he is shown with the make-up he normally wears with Discipline. This isn't the only Discipline reference, as he is joined on this album by bandmate Paul Dzendel who provides drums on four of the songs, while Matthew provides everything else. If there is just one word that captures this album, it must be 'maturity', as here is an artist comfortable in his craft who is just going to let the music speak for itself. His vocals are reminiscent of Peter Hammill combined with Geoff Mann and Robert Wyatt, and musically this feels quite tied to the early Seventies with Wyatt, VDGG, Procol Harum and the Canterbury scene obviously having a major impact.

This is mostly based around piano and vocals, with additional instruments used as necessary, and a special mention must be made of the overall sound and production, as it captures the power and dramatic passion effortlessly. I firmly believe that Discipline are one of the most important bands to come out of the American prog scene, and that they have never really been afforded the acclaim they deserve, and the same is very true of their leader as while there are a select few who know of his brilliance, it should be far more widely recognised.

Some albums leave one feeling that there is something missing, something that could and should have been added, like having a Chinese meal and then wanting a burger a short while later. That is not the case here, as this album is so full of musical sustenance that when it ends the listener needs a break, a space before going back to investigate further. It is a feast, a banquet for the musical soul, with passion and emotion contained in a few notes and chords, and vocals that are breaking. Now he has signed with the British label Bad Elephant I trust that they will ensure that this album gets the publicity it deserves, as this is quite some achievement. Let's hope we don't have to wait quite so long for the next one.

Report this review (#1701164)
Posted Saturday, March 11, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you ever needed further confirmation that Discipline are the latter-day Van der Graaf Generator and Matthew Parmenter is their Peter Hammill, look to the way he's followed Hammill's mid-1970s game plan with his solo albums: whilst credited to him, to a certain extent they come across as simply another facet of Discipline, with various members of the band (drummer Paul Dzendzel this time) guesting to turn out the material and the general musical style not falling too far from the Discipline tree.

At least, that's how it was on his previous two albums. All Our Yesterdays is still in a broadly prog mode, but finds Parmenter in a quieter, more contemplative mood than he usually is either on the bombastic epics of Discipline or on his prior solo albums. It's still recognisably part of the expanded Discipline sonic universe - look, he's even wearing his mime makeup on the front cover - and the sort of piano-focused torch songs he deals in here don't want for precedent, but this is the first time we've had a whole album in this mode. At points when wild synthesisers break out I am reminded of some of the solo work of John Grant of The Czars, since this occupies a similarly emotionally raw space.

Report this review (#1702503)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2017 | Review Permalink

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