The brilliantly named Mental Home Recordings is Phil Parfitt's second solo album. That feels like one of the most heartfelt eulogies to love you are likely to hear. Of course for many of us Phil is an old hero and in my case the lead singer of the first truly great support act I ever saw live at the 5th gig I ever attended, Nico at the Venue in Victoria on a cold March day in 1984.
The Perfect Disaster where the opening act who blew my young and very Velvet Underground obsessed mind by playing an astonishing instrumental cover of European Son (To Delmore Schwartz) with Phil playing a monster sax solo. I was impressed enough that after the gig when I noticed Phil and Drummer Martin Langshaw in the foyer on the way out I thanked them as they handed me an A4 flier of The Perfect Disasters upcoming shows, which meant they were the first ever band I talked to after a gig and I still wished I'd gone and seen them at the Hoggs Grunt as that's such a great venue name.
The album opens gently and slowly with Somebody Called Me In, a song for anyone who's ever sat waiting interminably in a waiting room, not sure why they are there and looking round at the sad decor as you think your names been called, is your time up or is there time up, but the ghostly sounds swirl in the background behind the acoustic guitar and sparsest of drum kits.
All Fucked Up comes with a lovely video evoking the spirits of the days back in the 70's or 80's when you could ride home on the milk train from Waterloo that left at about 4.30 am this is woozy like you're in that all night haze, slightly dreamy, trying to stay awake, staring into space and watching London give way to Surrey and Hampshire I guess.
If I Wake Up is a plea from the painful end wondering if you'll wake up tomorrow or if your love will have just gone by then very elegiac, a fond farewell.
Don't Wait Until I'm Dead (Before You Tell Me that You Love Me) is a very tender farewell a gentle goodbye to a departing loved one, never forget to tell them you love them as they die or are about to die, this is as poignant and graceful a song as anything I've heard this year, a beautiful farewell.
John Clare is a dark beautiful evocation and rereading of the words of John Clare seeking comfort and peace in the midst of the wallowing tragedy that's unfolding in the feedback noises that are under the acoustic guitar chiming accentuating the words.
I Saw There Beside Me takes a gentle slow peruse through the depth of loss of powers we once had and are now gone as you can no longer hear, or don't react how you once did, lament to the passage to another world of your love.
Bones Cold is full of grief sadness and visions of the recently departed as all you can do is carry on loving them just the same as if they were still with you, so poignant sad and a moving adieu, as your spirit slowly fades away.
My Love is a starkly beautiful captivating eulogy to his Love who has left him to dream of seeing her again with a backing that sounds like a stripped back version of Beginning To See The Light, this feels like everything is fading away to dust beautifully.
Are We Really Still The Same just asks can we really be the same after all we have gone through on our journey to here and now, with all the baggage of the years since we began, this is slowly majestic spaghetti western jazz blues to walk off into the sunset too.
The album closes with Nothing In Particular a remembrance of the last few thoughts and things you'd like to say to the Lover that has now gone, the favorite outfits, the Cafe you could be drinking tea in and chatting away again.
This album is a wonderfully sad and beautiful eulogy to whoever Phil's lost and in a year so full of loss feels like it connects to the current downbeat sadness all around us, while still being an uplifting look at the power of love, we should hopefully get from those nearest to us. Simply one of the saddest albums you must hear this year or any time you need its redemptive qualities in times to come.
Find out more at https://philipparfitt.bandcamp.com/ https://www.facebook.com/p.mused.on https://aturntablefriendrecords.bandcamp.com/