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(59:21 / 'Split Difference')
TRACK LIST: 1. Zoccer 3:32 2. Keep Crying 4:30 3. Dating My Frankenstein 3:12 4. Starving 4:12 5. Diamond Eggshell 4:09 6. I Dig Your Head 5:36 7. All Ways 4:48 8. Sterilized 4:32 9. Dream 4:13 10. No Matter How You Spend Your Day 5:12 11. I'm Just a Guy 5:19 12. The Noble Knave 5:36 13. Come Along 4:28 SOLO PILOT: Ryan Parmenter - vocals; keyboards; programming, sampling
Prolusion. Known to many as the bandleader of American prog-rock band Eyestrings, Ryan PARMENTER appears as an individual performer this time around. "The Noble Knave" is Ryan's second solo effort, the 13-track CD gathering together all the best songs that he has recorded at his home studio since the release of his first solo offering, "Helvetika", which in turn took place 13 years ago.
Analysis. This album is made up exclusively of songs, of which two, Dream and the title number, while being largely instrumental are hardly more progressive than the others, since the pace remains unchangeable throughout each. Nevertheless, the latter is vastly different from the rest of the material in sound, being the only track here featuring string arrangements, and since it's almost throughout woven of those, the music reminds me distantly of ELO. Dream is a piano-based ballad, though the sounds of acoustic guitar play quite an important role there too. All the other songs find Ryan singing and playing piano for the most part only to the accompaniment of programmed drums, as he relatively rarely utilizes samples from other instruments (which in turn are in most cases limited to those of electric guitar), so none of the disc's tracks has a sound which would have even distantly resembled that typical of a real band. Starving begins and ends as a typical ballad too, while the piece's mid section conveys a sense of pop rock. Dating My Frankenstein, I'm Just a Guy and Diamond Eggshell all have something in common with Elton John's work (after the man had left "The Yellow Brick Road" far behind him), while the remaining seven tracks, Zoccer, Keep Crying, I Dig Your Head, All Ways, Sterilized, No Matter How You Spend Your Day and Come Along, are all strongly influenced by Queen, though some of the themes where Ryan sings without support on the part of a 'choir' (his own vocals, just overdubbed) may also evoke Supertramp. The one with no programmed ingredients, All Ways is one more ballad, but is the same story overall.
Conclusion. Despite its rather flat sound (let alone its remoteness from the progressive area), this recording shows its maker as a composer who has a strong sense of melody, but personally I knew that without hearing it. In my humble opinion, "The Noble Knave" adds nothing to the piggy bank of Ryan's creative virtues.
VM: Agst 1, 2007
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