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Indie duo's debut CD lacking in originality

Nov. 3, 2005

by PHIL MONTGOMERY, contributor

JamisonParker is one of those feel-good stories that inspires garage bands and local musicians to stick it out in hopes of reaching the big time, yet the band's music doesn't offer much inspiration.

JamisonParker has been popular among concert aficionados and indie rock fanatics.

But the band hadn't been able to make a name for itself with mainstream music fans until it launched its 2005 debut album, Sleepwalker.

In Sleepwalker, Covington (guitar, vocals) and Case (drums, bass) blend punk, pop and emo lyrics in a familiar yet tried-and-true way.

Listeners looking for musical originality should avoid the album, but if you're looking for catchy tunes with solid lyrics, you might give it a try.

Failing musician Jamison Covington and his good friend Parker Case were on the verge of leaving the Southern California music scene for good when they decided to team up and give their music careers one more try.

In a desperate attempt to get publicity, they attended the 2003 New Jersey Surf and Skate Fest and played on an independent stage, meaning they were not paid for their performance.

The festival promoter walked by while the band was performing and quickly fell in love with them.

He invited them to play on the main stage the next night and the duo became an overnight, underground sensation.

The same qualities that attracted notice from the festival promotor are pertinent to college students.

Most of the songs on Sleepwalker deal with pain and depression, which could turn some people away; however, several tracks explore topics that are relevant to the 20-something age group.

The band's single "Best Mistake" describes a relationship gone wrong and the artist's struggle to fill the void that it left.

Another track, "Slow Suicide," is an insightful look into the futility of searching for love and acceptance in places like bars and night clubs.

The band also displays diversity in "Paper, Rock, Scissors," playing an acoustic, more mellow tune about a couple facing the challenges of a long-distance relationship.

Sleepwalker is not for everyone.

In most bands where the lead singer is also the lead guitarist, the musical complexity suffers a bit.

JamisonParker is no exception to this rule.

If you like uplifting music or if you get annoyed by simple guitar chord progressions and drum beats, then you will have a nightmare with Sleepwalker.

But if you enjoy listening to an artist's raw emotion and take solace when it relates to you, give this record a chance.

Followers of bands like Story of the Year and Brand New will probably find this album rewarding.

Grade: C+