Album Review: Nick Parker and The False Alarms – ‘Angry Pork and the Occasional Bird’

NP_FA2_basis-2 Review by Martin Sheills – When he’s not touring Europe, Nick Parker is a stalwart of the local acoustic scene, breaking hearts with his utterly authentic brand of singer-songwriter folk. His intelligent and skilfully crafted songs combine melancholic yet uplifting Morrisey-esque self reflection and humour, wistful yarns sung with a raspy tone that comes from his boots, and epic folk arrangements. Nick’s latest album ‘Angry Pork and the Occasional Bird’ showcases his versatility as a songwriter, ranging from the acutely personal “Never Been To Dublin Before,” a tribute to his own musical heroes of the Dublin folk scene, to the vivid characters of “Tom, Dick and Harry (Ode to the Open Mic part II),” which reveals ‘the dark side of open mics’ (a song that literally made me laugh out loud). As with all great songwriters Nick has the ability to not only write about his own experiences, but also to transport s into the hearts and minds of others, as in “Could We At Least Try?”, a hypothetical conversation between a man and his girlfriend whom he has recently discovered works by night as a prostitute in Amsterdam’s red light district. He also has the magical skill of the comedian in articulating things, which we can all relate to but can never quite find the words for, such as one of my favourite lyrics ever, ‘you help to take the edge of being me’ in “The Conjuror.” When you meet Nick you know that his music is truly his own. The same quiet bashfulness that manifests itself in the self-deprecation and sadness of his lyrics is apparent. More obvious when you meet Nick is that he is a nice guy. The empathy in his stories gives one the sense that we are all just as confused as each other; lost souls wandering through life trying to make sense of the often strange world we find ourselves in. Occasionally we find something for someone who makes all this weirdness bearable. Even more occasionally we find the words to tell the how we feel. This is the task of songwriters, of which Nick Parker is our own local hero. ‘Angry Pork and the Occasional Bird’ was released on Tonetoaster Records in June and will be available at the album release gig at The Bocabar, Glastonbury, on Saturday 12th July and the following week at The Godney Gathering on Saturday 19th July, both of which will be with Nick’s full band The False Alarms, before they head off to tour Germany on July 20th. The album is also available from and all the usual digital outlets.