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Album Review
Over My Shoulder

Over My Shoulder
by Mel Parsons


Review Date
Friday 28th August
Reviewed by
Hayley Koorts

Mel Parsons writes music for the soul, to softly heal all hurt with the dependable remedy of a pretty melody. New Zealand’s own country sweetheart brings us her heartfelt ramblings, ardently packaged with equal parts break-up blues, lovesick lullabies and soul-purging poetry.

With a voice as thick and frothy as a calming cappuccino, the Southern Islander’s debut drips with all the heart-warming comfort of a toasty log-burner in the midst of a wild West Coast winter. Drawing from the ups and downs of missed loved-ones and homesickness, Parsons has put together a gorgeous catalogue of honest Kiwi folk songs. The soothing chorus of gentle rain is almost audible in the fixed landscape of every track.

Her raspy, sincere voice tugs on the heart strings during ballads Still Life and Against the Tide, while other jazz-fuelled numbers such as Pleasure & Pain are bound to impel a bit of upbeat, toe-tapping action. Darlin’ Darlin’ speaks of the heartache of long-distance relationships (Darlin’ Darlin’, when are you coming home? /Darlin’ Darlin’, I can’t touch you through the phone), spurring shades of comparison to twee poppettes Camera Obscura and folktronic darlings Chairlift.

Perhaps Mel is not exactly breaking boundaries and simply carrying on the singer-songwriter tradition of folk music, but that’s hardly to her detriment. Those seeking musical evolution may not feel fulfilled, but for the rest of us there’s nothing wrong with a good old dose of western swing and mellow balladry – especially when we can call it our own.

Listen To While: Gorging on a box of Cadbury Favourites, post-break up .

Sounds Like: Cat Power in gumboots, strolling along a driftwood-ridden, black-sand beach in Aotearoa.

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