During the now infamous fire alarm incident at Summers End 2015, Matthew Parmenter, who was there to play with Discipline, became acquainted with the chaps from Bad Elephant Music. A deal was struck and Matthew was added to their already impressive roster of artists. And all this before Discipline took to the stage where they astounded and amazed the crowd with what was the set of the festival, indeed in my opinion maybe one of the best in the long history of the event.
Matthew has had a long career with Discipline as their vocalist, keyboard player and songwriter, and within this time has also released two previous solo albums, All Our Yesterdays is his third and the first for his new label. Matthew has written all the songs, except for the words of William Shakespeare used on the title track, he also plays all the instruments with assistance from Discipline bandmate Paul Dzendzel who adds his drums to four tracks. The production is also by Matthew with mixing by Terry Brown and mastering by Peter Moore. The sound is clear and has a great band feel even though Matthew plays all the instruments.
What Matthew has provided for us here are ten songs which, when played straight through, become an experience, but the songs are of such quality that they each stand up on their own merit. I have played this album through from the beginning and as individual tracks many times and for me it works either way. This is an album of beautiful haunting melodies, delivered with emotional vocals; at times it appears to have a slight melancholy, although there are signs of positivity throughout.
This is no more evident than on All Our Yesterdays which contains words from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5 to be precise) set to a beautiful and haunting melody; it is emotionally powerful in its delivery, the music interlinking seamlessly with the words to create the right atmosphere (anyone for a Matthew Parmenter Macbeth opera?). The next track, Stuff in the Bag, is bright and upbeat in contrast to its predecessor, this is also the case for the last three tracks but they have a slightly different feel to them. Indeed, Inside has almost a plaintive vocal which at times appear mismatched with the brighter feel of the music, but it works so well.
The album opens with Scheherazade, an eerie vocal starts things and then the piano and Matthew’s voice are introduced with guitar and drums following. The song proceeds at a slow burn, full of emotion and controlled power; it is immediately followed by its instrumental coda Danse du Ventre, keyboards again featuring in the opening and throughout where they are joined by some great guitar. The bass work is excellent – sparse but very effective.
All for Nothing would not be out of place on a Peter Hammill or Van der Graaf Generator album, which is not a criticism. The construction of the song is nothing short of brilliant, piano start with violin and the most emotionally angst-driven vocals you will hear, it continues to develop with saxophone introduced in the middle portion of the song, then it is back to the violin for the ending. Here Matthew is wearing his influences very well to create something which is uniquely him, there is probably no one else who could pull this off so well.
All Our Yesterdays is a great piece of work, excellent songs with polished performances throughout; each song is finely crafted with plenty of emotional depth. Matthew won me over as a new fan after seeing the Discipline performance and this release has inspired me to investigate his previous solo work. You can pre-order the album at Bad Elephant Music and experience one of progressive rocks great songwriters.
01. Scheherazade (3:41)
02. Danse du Ventre (2:48)
03. Digital (3:40)
04. I Am a Shadow (3:52)
05. All for Nothing (5:09)
06. All Our Yesterdays (4:13)
07. Stuff in the Bag (5:35)
08. Inside (5:45)
09. Consumption (1:59)
10. Hey for the Dance (5:01)
Total time – 41:43
Matthew Parmenter – Vocals, All Instruments
Paul Dzendzel – Drums (tracks 1,5,7 & 10)
Record Label: Bad Elephant Music
Country of origin: U.S.A
Year Of Release: 11th March 2016