Asking fans to pay towards the recording of your debut EP is something of a big ask. But luckily for those who parted with their cash, Samuel S. Parkes’ Night Owl EP is a debut that doesn’t disappoint.
Opening track What You Do In Your Own Time Is None Of Mine immediately sucks you in. With its atmospheric piano riff and infectious dance beat you can’t help finding yourself bobbing along with.
Its lyrics are filled with the imagery of the Mod movement and a chorus with urgent beats and swirling Hammond organs.
Work To Live, Don’t Live To Work is held together by a guitar hook that wouldn’t be out of place on some of Ocean Colour Scene’s catchier numbers, and the vocal line of the chorus will linger in your head for days.
The title track takes the retro sound to the extreme, bringing together all the hallmarks of a Northern Soul classic: echoic guitar stabs, jazz-tinged xylophones and electric organ pops bouncing around a driving dance beat.
Closing track The Runner brings in fuzzy rock riffs and frenetic bongo rhythms – it’s what The Who might sound like if they attempted to write a Northern Soul record.
Throughout the EP Parkes’ soulful vocals are rich and confident and his occasional chirps of falsetto are excellent.
The record isn’t going to win any prizes for originality – it’s not supposed to. It would be like criticising the Sex Pistols for being sneery or the roof of the Sistine Chapel for being a bit religious.
Parkes wears nostalgia like a badge of honour and transports you to the sweaty amphetamine-fuelled dance floors of a Wigan Pier all-nighter.
The Night Owl EP is a very accomplished debut that shows great potential for the future. Hopefully a major label will sit up and take notice of Mr Parkes.
The Night Owl EP is out now on digital download.
EP launch March 8 at the 360 Club at The Library, Leeds.