Review: A Second Substantial Solo Sojourn from Parker Gispert

Parker Gispert/Golden Years/Normaltown Records
Four out of Five Stars|

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After helming the Atlanta-based band The Whigs for the past 20 years, Parker Gispert was ready to venture out on his own, a feat he first undertook in 2018 with the release of his initial, critically-acclaimed solo set, Sunlight Tonight. The Whigs have apparently kept him busy because it’s taken four years for him to produce a follow-up, which has finally arrived in the form of Golden Years

Happily, it was well worth the wait. With certain songs sharing a joyful ‘60s sensibility (“Golden Years,” “You and I Forever,” “Come Together Now” ) and others expressing an underlying urgency (“All the Rage,” “Rock and Roll,” “Stuck Inside Someone Else’s Dream”), Golden Years emerges as an astute combination of glee and gravitas in equal measure. Gispert takes nothing for granted, and every note and nuance testify to his agility and ability.

As a result, Golden Years commands attention from beginning to end, thanks to melodies that ring with emphatic intents. Even when Gispert is rocking at his most intense, the allure and intrigue are always in sync. In some respects, he brings to mind Tom Petty, another artist who regaled in classic rock reverence while championing it within a contemporary context. 

While it’s doubtful The Whigs have reason to worry, it’s likely they’re also paying attention. Gispert’s material elevates his stature and further proves he’s an impressive asset to The Whigs overall.

Of course, it’s not unusual for a prominent band member to opt for a solo sojourn, especially after spending so many years at the helm. There are always more ideas to be expressed, and more music to be made that doesn’t necessarily find a fit within the confines of the combo. Still, Golden Years speaks to the potential for The Whigs to further grow as a band, especially when considering Gispert’s prolific prowess. Hopefully, all parties concerned will take advantage of his talents in tandem.

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