The band was previously known as Martin Staunton Band and then Martin Staunton & The Lost Parade. The group was formed in 2006 by Martin and his sister Emma and features a changing line-up which includes James Kemp (bass), Emma(alto sax & vocals), Martin (guitar & vocals), Grainne Foster (piano and violin), Sebastian Jezzi (drums) and J.J. Leto (lap steel guitar). Under that guise of Martin Staunton & The Lost Parade, they had some moderate success with their 2009 self-titled debut release. In particular the single ‘My Luck is about to change’ got some well supported national radio play and charted successfully in the Irish charts.
Their latest effort has found the band dropping the frontman monkier and subsumming Martin into the group. Now just known as The Lost Parade, the band have recently released their second record. The album was self-produced with all tracks written by Martin. When you here an artist going down the self produced route, you might worry about self-indulgence (double albums and the like.) This is clearly not the case here. This is one of the best releases I have heard in the life of Eirecana. Ten songs of americana-rock expertly arranged, confidently produced and beautifully performed.
The album opens confidently with the epicley tinged “Canada”. With a solid rythem, a surpurb hurdy-gurdy solo (is it a hurdy-gurdy?), the melody slowly draws you in. As relevant as a song title can be in these times, the lyrics deal with being confronted with what has happened to this country. You have to admire Martin for not avoiding to address the issues of the day. The words “I got a friend in Canada/Says he can hook me up/I just need to get moving now/and get straight to work” will resonate with a lot of people.
The albums style mixes between contemplative mid tempo tunes and more aggressive musings on love.’Heart and Soul’ is jazzy, country tinged rock melody. With the saxophone refrain, its hetic pace and that angular guitar strikes,the melody feels as angry as the lyrics convey.
Others like ‘Caroline’ and ‘Smile’ are evocative of alt-country stalwarts like John Hiatt and Chris Knight. That relaxed singing style, the rolling rhythm, those words especially, evokes something of Haitt and Knights style. The working man against the world.
Like those men I previously mentioned (John Hiatt, Chris Knight), Martin brings up similar themes throughout this album. Those issues affecting young men; love, hardship, making a living, making the best of your world. Not that this is an album for any particular gender or age group. This album is a life-affirming record for all. Yes I wouldnt be fond of those clunky cheesy plaudits myself either but that is the closest I can get to my appreciation for the songs here. While it deals with some forlorn issues, the record is still lined with positivity. As Martin sings in ‘Blue Skies’; “Though you feel so alone and your heart is numb/Though it doesn’t seem worthwhile/Bluer skies will come”.
It is one of my favourite albums and more importantly, in my opinion one of the best albums of the last few years. It manages to capture both the essence of the period it was recorded in and still feel a timeless record. Criminally underrated, criminally under-exposed (I’ve seen no national media reviews of it), this is an album that you should own and play and play and play.
For more infomation on The Lost Parade, check out their official website or alternatively consult their Facebook page. No sign of any gigs coming up but hopefully that might be rectified soon. You can find the album to buy on iTunes, Deezer or if you want a physical copy, get it through the bands website. If you want to stream it, consult their Soundcloud page.