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Ryan Parker — In Circles



Parker asks a lot of questions here in his debut, but judging by the crisp vocal harmonies (supplied by Brianna Gaither, Ali McIlroy and Amy Leming), chiming acoustic guitar chords and peppy percussion, he’s optimistic about the answers. “Just Because,” the disc’s shining love song, stands out in this regard. The jug-band bassline and handclaps makes it sound like it was recorded in a meadow on a springtime afternoon.

“True Be True” is another track to which I found myself returning. Those currently crushing on Idaho buzz band Youth Lagoon’s triumphant, drum-machine-assisted, squiggle-guitar jams immediately will recognize a striking, enjoyable similarity. The difference is in the careful vocal arrangement Parker’s given this one.

Per the title, a lot of his lyrics runs around in circles — they’re more existential bouts of wondering than stories — but they’re certainly very pretty, diverse circles, richly recorded with a nice, subtle echo coming off his voice when the arrangement goes sparse.

You can catch him live at 10 p.m. Friday at VZD’s Restaurant & Club, 4200 N. Western. —Matt Carney

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