Nate Parrish has something new to say.
The guitarist of the Christian rock outfit Kutless has entered the world of solo projects with his debut album, I’m a Wreck, a record that doesn’t take the safe route you might expect from the member of a conventionally safe Kutless. Rather, Parrish puts on his punk rock pants for his newest venture, and the results are rather impressive.
I’m a Wreck is successful at the difficult balance of saying a lot without trying to do too much. It embodies the anti-establishment punk ethos but manages to mostly avoid cliché as Parrish instead offers thought-provoking takes on the American societal landscape across the backdrop of classic punk beats and riffs.
Importantly, Parrish avoids one of the genre’s easy traps: repetitiveness. By blending in elements of ska and pop-punk, he makes slight adjustments to the heaviness meter throughout the 10-track record, all while proving he has the perfect pipes for punk, a skill he had not previously showcased.
The ska influence hits you as you walk through the front door of the record as a hearty saxophone lays the structure for the title track. Parrish leaves no questions about where he’s going lyrically: “So are you sick of the injustice? Well, you’re sick enough to be the cure!” He picks up the pace on the two-step friendly “Mind Monopoly,” one of the catchiest tracks I’m a Wreck has to offer; Parrish belts one of the more memorable lines on the record (“This is a digital cage in the information age”) with some killer pop-punk vocals that bleed over into “Losers.” “House Made of Mirrors” is more mellow sonically but takes it up a notch lyrically, providing a poignant thematic summary for the entire record with its first verse: “Remember when we could disagree? / That didn’t mean that we were enemies / Our differences made us all the same.”
The back half of the record goes on a bit of an adventure with Parrish offering some personal insights with the softer track “Things My Father Taught Me” before “Monsters” takes a lighter turn with another dose of ska. “Everything is Outrage!” and “Permanence” are textbook punk-rock tracks with solid riffs and catchy melodies. Parrish truly finds his niche in these tracks, laying down some thick, poppy vocals over consistent ride cymbals. “Hope” brings the album to an anthemic close, leaving you feeling ready to stick it to the man with a smile on your face.
Good vibes and resistant attitudes for all!
I’m a Wreck is a solid solo debut offering from Nate Parrish. He resists the temptation to try and do too much musically while challenging his listeners to resist the systems that enclose them. While Parrish avoids sounding overly repetitive with his musical restraint, he doesn’t quite hit the wow factor either. The mix could use some work; certain tracks could’ve fared better showcasing his vocal strength. But when the fog of war dissipates, you’d be hard-pressed to find a punk rock album that better encourages resistance without alienating specific groups of listeners. I’m a Wreck is that fist in the air.