This is without a doubt, the BEST release of 2020 (so far) and the best music I’ve heard in the past 5 years. How can I make such a bold claim? Well my taste is really just objective and entirely my own but everything about “I’m a Wreck” screams quality. From the production and full sound heard throughout the entire full length, to the graphic art of cover and included designs, to the songwriting, lyrics, substance, and overall vibe of this record. I can’t believe I’m saying this but Nate Parrish has created one album that will be tough to beat in the years ahead. You want explosive, in your face, heart on the sleeve, roots rock n’ roll with a strong punk undercurrent, then this album is for you.
The album begins with the hard hitting title track, “I’m A Wreck”. The gritty, in your face yet melodic backing of this song really begins the album on a strong note. Lyrics like “Cause I’m caught between my faith and my frustration, Somewhere in between belief and fear” bring the tone and substance of this album right around to the forefront and reinforce our brokenness. Through the despair and doubt there is hope.
“Mind Monopoly” is track #2 and is a faster paced, melodic punk rock barn stormer. This song falls somewhere between Face to Face, Social Distortion, The Bouncing Souls, and The Gaslight Anthem (much like the rest of the record). The ending chorus of the song, repeating the line – “We’re in a digital cage in the Information Age” is freaking beautiful. The whole song is extremely current, sharing the frustration with a divisive media that continues to pull us all in a hundred different directions, feeding on our fears.
“Losers” is another fast paced punk rock n roll song. It is a song about never giving up, about being “Losers” in the face of adversity and personal destruction. Holding on to hope and and clenching that piece of us that holds great strength.
We’re losers, always
And we live a different way
We give all we are
And we win by never giving up
never giving up
“Politicians and Celebrities” is an edgy song directed at fake reality and social manipulation. Basically, an anthem about beating this false perception of reality being permeated by the “influencers”, “reality show actors”, “celebrities”, and annoying politicians all bent on warping our minds with their manipulative form of self importance. It’s a slower, more rock n’ roll song. I hear a little Mike Ness here and roots rock like Bruce Springsteen.
Down the hill from Hollywood
Beyond the walls of Washington
The rest of us just wait for you to tell us what to think
Tell us what to say
Politicians and celebrities
They are Scripting our reality
We’re a means to their end
These people aren’t your friends
They just play them on tv
What they’re watching on the screen
Were seeing in the streets
They want to make documentaries
into a horror movie
“House Made of Mirrors” has this Face To Face “Ignorance Is Bliss” (album) vibe and I LOVE IT. One of my favorite Face to Face albums and a fine representation of Trever Keith’s finest work. Beautiful song that is literally a self reflection of ourselves, all needing a look in the mirror to see change that needs to come.
We sharpen our teeth for
The scraping sounds all that
Will never see change in
If we live in a house made
We lose our names, when a labels all we give
Don’t let the group think tell you how to live
“Things My Father Taught Me” is track #6 and is a slight departure from the rest of the record. Total roots rock and something more mellow in tone. This song rocks and is a moving tribute to his Father, things taught in youth that apply to all of us who have a loving Father that guided us through our most formative years. Kinda reminds me of a cross between Goo Goo Dolls, Bruce Springsteen, Mike Ness (solo), Tumbledown, and John Mellencamp.
There’s enough noise in the world
Create some calloused hands
It’s not what you say but how you act
Be kid as long as you can
But come and visit when you’re a man
These are things my father taught me
These are the ways it shaped who I am
He was far too young
when it was time to say goodbye
he always said to me son
Better to be early then to be on time
Dude, freaking “Monsters”! This song rules, hard! It’s a full on frontal punk rock attack to the face (and heart). As close to “White Light, White Heat, White Trash” (Social Distortion) that you can get. This song (and album) is in NO way a rip off or copy of Social D. Sorry for repeating that comparison but I feel Nate has a strong influence from Mike Ness and it reflects in his work. That is certainly not a bad thing. But wear Mike fails in variety and progression, Nate steps up and creates an album like this. “Monsters” is a song about beating the skeletons, monsters, and darkness in the shadows into oblivion. Being covered in light and healing us of pain that seeks to run our lives. We’ve all been consumed by monsters under our bed at time or another throughout our journey here on Earth.
And all the hearts I used to know follow me like a ghost
Stepping into the light we realize we’ve all got shadows
Most of us aren’t blind, we just never open our eyes
Some of us will live our whole lives never being alive
Then I, I see the light in your eyes
And though the world seems so dark we can see just fine
And all the monsters, that live under my bed
You scare away, you scare away and I can dream again
“Everything Is Outrage” is so incredibly current with our current country situation that my ears bleed of truth. Nate Parrish probably didn’t know what was coming when he recorded these songs but man, he tackles “outrage” with gentle hands and a bit of anger. It only takes one listen to this song you kind of nod along in a sort of nervous agreement, fearing outside glares and keyboard mashing by fragile hands.
You’re an activist from safe distances
Security in a mob mentality
We’re all brave behind a username
Hiding behind a screen
The Common ground erodes beneath us
When we only see in black and white
Were no use to them standing in the middle
So move to the left or the right
We are living on anger and fear
When everything is outrage
We scream but no one hears
Manufactured sense of morality
You care when it helps your cause
You’re using offense as a currency
To buy your way to the top
You’ll set your house on fire just to put it out
So you can say you saved the day
If we keep crying on out for the wolf
He will show up one day
“Permanence” is song 9 and it is a definite heart on the sleeve cry out for answers. Punk meets rock n’ roll. Brian Fallon meets Mike Herrera, soaking up the tears in friendly conversation and beer. Rock n’ Roll at it’s finest.
Every time I say another prayer I must admit at times it feels like you’re not there
I’m spending so much time in yesterday
Missing the blessing of another day
I’ve been down every road that I could wonder
I’ve come out from every rock that I’ve been under
We’re all searching for a permanent solution
Every step has always led me right back here to you
The album ends with one heck of an anthem titled “Hope”. Starts out with a simple strum of the guitar then the drum beat and tambourine hit comes in. Nate takes verse 2 with soaring grit and melody. The song drops right into a chorus…
Ya, we’re skin and bone
But ya, we got heart and soul
When there’s not much to hold
Hold on to hope
So much joy permeates through this song. I love the BGVs and melodies radiating throughout the song.
It’s when we face the waves,
You learn to shed your dead weight
All hands on deck we’re gonna be alright
Just hold on tight
The song ends and closes out the album “I’m a Wreck” with a simple almost worship worthy lyric…
In my veiled sight
Let faith become my eyes
And hope the only anchor of my soul
And I won’t let go
There it is, one of the most glorious punk rock lyrics from a Christian that I’ve heard in years. Light The Way write songs like this and Nate Parrish takes it in a more rock n’ roll direction while still incorporating his punk rock influence. The album is simply stunning in each and every way you can imagine. Even if you don’t appreciate roots rock n’ roll and punk rock in it’s finest form, you’ve got to dive into this record with a smile on your face.
I can’t believe this album came from an independent artist. It’s not a rip on indie talent in any way. There are plenty of indie artists and groups I enjoy but something of this caliber just hasn’t graced my ears in quite a while. If I had a huge label and worked full time at music, I would have “signed” Nate Parrish in a second.
Don’t sleep on “I’m a Wreck”. The album releases on June 19th 2020 and goes beyond all expectations. I don’t review much music myself any more due to lack of time and energy but when something this good hits my ears, I can’t resist to tell the world about it.
Job well done Nate Parrish. Now just make this your full time gig. There I said it.