From the streets of Lancashire we see a man of many talents, James Parkinson, as he presents his band project ‘One Cure For Man’ and their album ‘This Eternal Life’. James has pretty much written, recorded and produced most of this album and has graced our ears with his vocals, guitar, bass and piano playability.
Whilst talent and true songwriting may tick off many boxes in my book for a genuine hard-working musician, it doesn’t mean what I’m going to hear will keep the smile on my face. This album takes homage to rock acts of the 90’s such as Suede and Manic Street Preachers but forgets that the fire these bands had burned out long ago.
‘This Eternal Life’ for me was a confusing and almost frown-sitting listen as one track did not blend into the other with clashing sounds throughout. The opening track ‘Kings’ did grab my attention with its guitar patterns and chunky chord tone and the bass guitar filling out a lot of the rhythm. I was excited for the rest of the album, but instantly I got the gist of where I was heading with the very safe and HIM-sounding ‘Not Close Enough’ with a transition that completely blew out the fire the first track lit.
Whilst track 3 ‘Faces In The Dark (Eternity)’ displays smooth indie rock vibes that blessed us in the late 90s – James’ voice being a major highlight here, I can’t help but start to notice a trend where each song doesn’t flow easily into the next. Clearly James has variety and I don’t have a studio album under my belt, but I know when I get the feeling that an album is flowing well and doesn’t sound like a bunch of songs have been thrown together.
Another example is the title track and ‘Living Doesn’t Have To Be A Lie’. With the former you are given a Manic Street Preachers rock ballad then transcends into a modern indie track and the two might be found on a Spotify ‘That’s What I Call Indie’ playlist, but it ain’t cutting it here. I will give credit where credit is due where on the majority of these tracks James rips through with great solos, with ‘Wave Goodbye’ having ferocious guitar work.
In the mid-to late section of the album the transitions from the tracks pick up for a moment, but it is a major callback to the Manic Street Preachers similarities I’m hearing. I guess kudos to James for doing a whole band’s work by himself, however I personally prefer Everything Must Go.
I must say the last track is a beautiful acoustic and piano combo that is always my favourite way to see an album close, it’s too little too late to save my feelings towards this record, but ‘His Skin’ is truly a moving piece of music. Here’s how I would prefer to have seen the album flow with maybe missing out on a couple moments: