Oklahoma-born singer-songwriter Parker Millsap's three prior full-length releases – 2012's Palisade, 2014's self-titled LP, and 2016's The Very Last Day – showcased a primal mastery of acoustic folk rock, with their flourish for revelation and fiery dynamics, all recorded with extreme precision, purpose, and efficiency. But as he began work on his new album, Other Arrangements, Millsap opted for a change, allowing himself the time and space to let the work evolve in a new and distinct light. The result is his most accessible collection of songs to date, filled with tunes whose inspiration trades divinity for ubiquity – and some you can even dance to.
To hear Millsap tell it, this pop sensibility is no accident. "For me, this record is about trying to write pop songs," he says. "When I say ‘pop' I mean how a Beatles record was pop music: the songs provide a variety of musical and emotional information; there are funny, sad, and happy moments; multiple tempos; ballads; rock and roll songs. It's a radio playlist for 45 minutes, trying to hit a bunch of touchstones. Like I usually tell strangers who ask, I play rock and roll music but I have a fiddle player, too. That seems to get to the point."
Tracks like "Fine Line," "Let a Little Light In," and "Gotta Get To You" crackle with urgency and an upbeat energy, while the album-ending "Come Back When You Can't Stay" shines with some of the more stirring and familiar gospel qualities fans of Millsap will recognize. But songs like "She" and the title track boast a slow-burning self-assuredness that showcase the singer's control of perhaps his most impressive instrument: his powerful, earthy, wise-beyond-its-years voice.