What is this British expat rocker in Istanbul sounding off about? Well, Sean Parker of Sean Parker and Scorpio Rising may have abandoned the Motherland that gave us David Bowie (an artist who, along with Talking Heads, he identifies heavily with)and taken up a rewarding residence in the scintillating Turkish metropolis, but his music still has that British flavor. Of course, it’s also peppered with a bit of Turkish and local references- to an extent that lends the songs a bit of relatability on the local scene without losing others in a fog.
For instance, the new album "Culture" opens with the quick and catchy "We’re all Pirates Now," in which he tells the drunk man in his bed (and in his head) to ’go feed the Moda dogs.’ Stray dogs run rampant on the streets of Istanbul, even in fashionable areas such as Moda, and there’s a bit of the street dog spirit in this music- streetwise, rambling, a bit rough around the edges but also good-natured. Defiant within a good demeanor. Sean tackles both torment and beauty in his lyrics (and sounds), and a stray dog amidst the tumult and splendor of the city seems an apt image for the contradictions of the artists’ life.
This album grinds forward- sometimes full tilt, sometimes medium tilt-with some nuance and flourishes of romance or introspection mixed in with a decidedly old school rock and roll...let’s say ’almost swagger’. ’Swagger’ connotes arrogance; what we have here is some undeniable masculine rock confidence pouring out, for example, over the down and dirty guitar riffs of "Starting a Fight" and "The Man Came Knocking" and the almost soaring guitar solo of "Shut Out the Moon." The ferocity of the vocals on the former doesn’t hurt either.
The only real slow track here is the pleasing rendition of Ed Harcourt’s "Shadowboxing," but Sean and company manage to keep the track selection variable enough so that listeners won’t bore. There’s a healthy dose of cynicism here, as in the lyrics of "I Hear There’s a War On," in which he sings, "I hear, there’s a war on...there always was and there always will be" and "I am nothing, and so are you." But there is also a hint of playfulness in his interaction with the world.
Also, the lyrics are sometimes direct and sometimes cryptic or metaphorical. "Shut Out the Moon," which is one of the more memorable tracks, partly for its catchy bridge, contains the curious final stanza, "Burst the science with the zeitgeister...You’re sultanesque in your mannerism...Look out over rabbit island...See the new world through my prism." Seeing the world through Sean Parker’s prism is not always rosy, but it’s definitely worthwhile.
"Culture" is available on Cdbaby at: http://www.cdbaby.com/sbwparker