Stevie Parker – Modern Art Oxford – 14/7/17
There are those that come crashing into the party with arms flailing, regaling brash anecdotes and demanding everyone in the room take stock of their conformist individuality and illusions of grandeur. Then there are those who gently slip in through a side door, thoughtfully make succinct and well judged points and smile modestly when praise comes their way. Stevie Parker is definitely the latter of these two caricatures, her enthralling compositions evoking the soulful capabilities of Sharon Van Etten and the effortless hooks of Natalie Prass. Although quiet in demeanour, Parker’s debut album The Cure is tantalisingly confrontational, Stevie using her music as cathartic therapy to expel her demons, albeit in an angelic way.
Parker’s performance in a bustling and boiling downstairs room is as assured as it is emotional, her ability to confront touching and fragile subject matter allows a bond of trust to build between herself and her audience. With a penchant for a pulsating and cadenced backdrop, Parker’s work has a heroic drama to it all, indicative of an artist who has had her share of heart ache but whose strength is unwavering and defiance untouched.
Tracks like Stay and Never Be are so rich both musically and lyrically that one does wonder quite how Parker’s compositions have, to date, so coyly slipped under the radar such is her ability to mesmerise her audience at her sell out show at Modern Art Oxford. Although quiet and reserved, Parker has a steely determination to her trade and there’s the distinct feeling of being in safe hands which is unusual for someone still somewhat learning their profession and finding their place in the incalculable leviathan that is the music industry.
Parker does appear to have all components of an artist with a long and healthy career ahead and the hard work for ‘Team Parker’ will be primarily to propel her into the collective consciousness. Once gaining a steady foothold, Parker’s work is too compelling and captivating not to be given the serious attention it demands. With a debut album which betrays her inexperience as regards maturity and prowess and a beauteous live sound, we await the inevitable onslaught when this slow burning fuse finally ignites its explosive cargo.