Single Review: The Parish Church Fire – Hunger

There’s slow burning and then there’s slow burning. Manchester based The Parish Church Fire are finally ready to be unleashed live upon an unsuspecting public 5 years after forming. There are first gigs for the band coming up on Sunday 26th May 2019 ­at  Strummercamp Festival ­ Oldham Rugby Union Club and on Friday 7th June 2019 ­at The legendary Eagle Inn, Salford.

The initial line up fell apart after an initial frantic 3 week flurry of activity, and things have only slowly built up since. Lead singer Sam Smith had his share of health issues and also had the disadvantage of sharing a name with the “other one” even though Smith had already carved out a niche in music with the band Sam Smith and Company. While also performing solo, and under the name Franco Bandini, Smith still felt good things were coming for The Parish Church Fire band, and released a couple of Parish Church Fire tracks recorded with a friend 3 years ago. Things slowly developed further and the band grew into a strictly session/studio venture as a five piece and as much as anything designed to be a diversion from more stressful pursuits.

Given the history and formation of the band it strikes me that lead song Hunger has an apt title. There is a frustration and urgency in the track with Smith’s urgent and solid vocals being backed by a frantic rolling beat and guitar, before moving into something of an anguished angry chorus. In musical style I get something of Pearl Jam, and a loose feel which rather feels Afghan Whigs or even the free form uncontrolled style of Jim Morrison with something of the Native American chant.

Perhaps most importantly as performer and listener both, the aggression bursting from this track is a brilliant stress buster. It all beats Prozac and is a far more natural stress buster. That insistent pulsing drum beat and guitar takes no prisoners.

The remaining track of the duo, Adam Raised A Cain shows that The Parish Church Fire are no flash in the pan. It has more of an early 80’s hard indie punk as I get something of Spear of Destiny in the vocals, and Clash era London’s Calling in the musical structure. This is a less complex song, but still a banger. If you like your music heavy and brooding, then The Parish Church Fire are going to burn a mark on you.

The Parish Church Fire are clearly ready to rumble, and if these two tracks are anything to go by, the live experience is going to be a powerful, pulsing performance. I can’t help but think that Sam Smith was right to persist with this band.

Chris R

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