Parker Millsap Other Arrangements
Published May 02, 2018Parker Millsap is usually a good writer and a great musician. His writing, between jangly rockabilly style guitar and earnest ballads, between songs about desire for sex and for desire for political or religious change, move seamlessly towards each other. He also knows his way around a hook. All of that fails on Other Arrangements, in ways that are not quite discernible.
The guitars are as tight as ever and his voice is ragged where it needs to be, but is also smooth when the music calls for it. He is a master at concision; songs never last more than four minutes, and often fall between two-and-a-half minutes and three. He packs a lot of sound in such a short amount of time, with clever lyrics and fluid guitar. It should be a perfect formula for a good-to-great Millsap record.
But, there is nothing as engaging (or as heartbreaking) as his paean to being queer and isolated from mainstream religion (like his song "Old Time Religion"). There is nothing as fun to sing along to as "You Gotta Move" or "Tribulation Day," from 2016's The Very Last Day. While Other Arrangements is playing I am quite engaged; when it stops, I don't remember themes or lyrics.
The album is slippery, but perhaps not in ways that are interesting enough to memorable, and definitely not as much as his previous work. (Thirty Tigers)