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Johnny Parry, Break Your Little Heart (Lost Toys)
Recorded in both Toronto and England, the debut album from this musician is a soft and rather ambient project. "Brave and Good" sounds as if Parry is on the verge of either a nervous breakdown or another broken heart, bringing to mind Neil Young at his most vulnerable. The supporting harmonies of Emily Mover play off Parry's whispered lead. "Buried In Leaves" pushes the envelope a bit further into a folk-like singer/songwriter melodic model, sort of like a cross between Nick Drake and Devendra Banhart. Parry likes to keep things simple though, especially on the piano-driven "Keepsake", a track that evolves into a lush arrangement a la Sigur Ros. The minimal approach is Parry's biggest strength, as "Little Ghost" contains no more than two sentences of lyrics as a haunting piano continues on. But not all is dreary. "Paws" sounds like a collage of Rickie Lee Jones and Canadian Hawksley Workman, a jazzy tune that has a nice swing to it. A highlight is little of Parry's doing however, as "Paws" is a contemporary homage to Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig In The Sky". Another ghost ditty, this time "Attached To A Ghost" is also strong, but not "the" song of the record. It's charming though thanks to the children providing harmonies during the chorus. The title track is bleak and depressing, but there is a glimmer of hope buried deep in it. It's an interesting debut from a musician who should be interesting to watch.