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Lancaster-based troubadour and History student Jonathan Parks unleashed his debut EP earlier this month. ‘What Happened Here’ consists of five, largely acoustic outings that vary between emotive poignance and crowd-pleasing, fast-talking, singalongs, as Parks ably exhibits his command of the acoustic rock spectrum.
While the EP couldn’t be accused of breaking new ground, there’s something enjoyable and comforting with the familiarity of it all, and in the manner with which it’s executed. The stripped down, raw approach to the recording only adds to the charm – there’s something intimate and honest that one can’t help but admire.
The lovely, rousing opener ‘Carry My Head’ benefits from trembling, airy notes that oscillate in the background, while the vocals seem to conjure the spirit of Gene Wilder, in a brilliant, unexpected way.
Another standout track ‘Years and Years has that same etherealness that beautifully accompanies the soulful outpouring of emotion by Parks.
As ‘What Happened Here’ cycles through fluctuating styles, it’s the more routine acoustic tracks that don’t quite reach the same heights. ‘High is High’ and ‘Eyes Hands Move Dance’  could have both benefited from a more distinctive and less chart-bait approach.
That being said, closing tune ‘High Windows’, with it’s ‘October’ era U2 vibe ends the EP on a stellar high – with a complete band behind him Parks’ style of performance gets all the amplification it deserves.
It’s abundantly clear that there’s something exceptional lurking in the singer/songwriter’s music that will no doubt shine brighter with time. We look forward to witnessing how this fresh talent hones his sound as his career progresses.
Words Mike Warburton
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