Parasites - Solitary
Record Label: Kid Tested Records
Release Date: June 23, 2009
There's something to be said about respecting your elders. Every once in a while I get into these conversations about music with my dad or my uncle, and since they don't listen to all the newfangled music that I listen to, we'll discuss Bruce Springsteen or Dire Straits or Billy Joel or something like that. Springsteen is my favorite artist and I probably know more about him than any other artist or band I listen to, but no matter what, my dad always tops me in those discussions. At the end, the only solace I can take is that he's 30 years older than me and just knows more. It's respecting your elders. Well, Parasites, the three-piece pop-punk outfit from New Jersey, have been around since 1985. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have here a pop-punk band that have been making music for 24 years. They are a rarity in today's what-have-you-done-for-me-lately climate, so I gave them respect right off the bat. Upon indulging in their June 2009 release, Solitary, it was proven that my respect was not misplaced.
Parasites haven't done anything groundbreaking with their ninth release, their second on Kid Tested Records, and they I don't think they'd claim they did. What they have done is piece together a completely solid collection of sour then sweet pop-punk songs. Just like your favorite Sour Patch product (I am finishing a two-pound bag of Sour Patch Kids that has only lasted me four days as I write this), the ride through Solitary has as many sugary sweet moments as it does punch-you-in-the-mouth moments.
Album opener "All the Time in the World" shows the listener right away that Parasites are hardly your nubile, fledgling pop-punk band. Vocalist/guitarist/bassist/writer/frontman/waterboy Dave Parasite does it all, including capture that huge sound that so many groups attempt to get, and he does it without selling out to any stupid mainstream fads. The song starts off straight and to the point, and while the lyrics aren't stellar, that's not what Parasites seem to be going for. The chorus is catchy, the verses are upbeat, and the guitar solo that Parasite throws in during the bridge doesn't feel corny or forced. Continuing, "Stuck on You" features a nice melody that suits Parasite's voice perfectly. My personal favorite, "Gonna Get You Back", starts with a guitar piece that sets somewhat of a darker mood. This continues in the verse as Parasite sings about those situations when you probably did something wrong, and you don't know what it is, but you just apologize anyway because you like that other person so much that you don't really care what you did wrong. The final highlight of Solitary is its last song, "The First Day of Summer". The somewhat depressing, yet totally honest lyrics don't quite match the, um, summer-y feel of the song, but there's no other song on the album that would be a better closer.
To wrap it up, Parasites has thrown down an album that just is what it is. Solitary is not a musical masterpiece (no song runs longer than three minutes, eight seconds), and it's not a lyrical wonder, but it is a half-hour of pure, heart-felt, upbeat pop-punk, and I don't think Dave Parasite would have it any other way. He seems to have found his own formula for writing songs, and while it's not about to be swept up by the mainstream media, it has proven to be successful. Nine records, 20 singles, 16 tours, and nearly 1,000 shows later, Parasites are still true to their fans and true to themselves, and they deserves respect no matter how old you are.