Almost at the Ivory

by James Parry

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Debut album.


released April 15, 2011

All songs written by James Parry
Produced by James Parry, Jordan Marson and James Tulczyn
Recorded by James Tulczyn at 3 Maning Avenue, Sandy Bay, Tasmania
Cello recorded by Stewart Long at Red Planet Studios
Mixed by James Tulczyn
Mastered by Adam Dempsey at Deluxe Mastering

James Parry sang, played guitar, piano, organ and bass guitar
Jordan Marson played drums, organ, guitar, keyboard, percussion, bass guitar and sang backing vocals
Cahill Kelly played bass guitar, mandolin and percussion
Nick Mercer played cello
Emma Cunningham sang backing vocals
Thomas Hyland sang backing vocals

On the track ‘You Still Came Out’ Eamon Hyland, Emma Cunningham, James Parry, James Tulczyn, Jordan Marson, Lauren Mason and Thomas Hyland all stomped and clapped

Artwork by Emma Cunningham
Layout by Sean Ravenwood

Thank you my friends and family for your support and to all who contributed to this release.

Special thanks go to:
Emma Cunningham for her constant loving support and patience
Jordan Marson for his hard work and dedication, being a major driving force behind the project
Martin Tucker, Thomas Hyland and Lisa Rime for kindly lending their equipment
Lauren Mason for being a supportive and tolerant neighbour


all rights reserved



James Parry Melbourne, Australia

James Parry lives in Melbourne, Australia and writes independent pop songs.

Originally from Tasmania, James has performed at premier Tasmanian festivals including Falls, Taste of Tasmania, Party in the Paddock and Cygnet Folk Festival and supported such quality Australian acts as Alex Lloyd and The Gin Club. ... more

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Track Name: Hard to Fake
The first thought that often occurred in those days
Was pull back and don’t show a thought on my face
Had a reason to hide
Trying to keep myself safe

Books stacked and eyes in my back up the hall
Did I imagine it all?
So self involved
That each look I caught
Became a stifled laugh and disdain
For the weak boy I was
For the doubt just
Peeking out like bright cellophane
To reveal the mistrust
Of a fool who thinks everyone cares
About his daily affairs
It was then I attracted the stares

Worked hard, practised the right things to say
But it was all such a waste
I traced my demise
To a desperate place
I could have only made on my own
All for trying to win
Hearts and minds of
Everyone I felt fearful of
For the things they might say
After I’d wandered away
Those were paranoid days
So they fixed me to lose anyway

Don’t think I could have caused this by choice but it lies at my feet
Just more fuel for their fire, my obsession with how it must seem
Only the foolish pretend to believe that it’s all in their hands
Waste all their energy trying to woo folks who just couldn’t care
Track Name: On My Back
In our eyes is a soreness
I don't want eyes to reveal
On the edge of our old town
Frightened of speaking to you

In our heads we were so wise
But rarely do kids realise
At the end of that old time
Thought soon I'd feel alright

Hey girl, I feel
It was too much, too young
Cause it was in my reach then gone
And I went chasing it all for so long

We were kids in our own time
Nothing could force us to see
What we saw was a good time
But not the mark it leaves

Hey girl, I see
I feel what you need
It's a shame I knew defeat
It's a silence all for me
It's the sound of breaking your heart

I don't want you on my back
I'd wished you'd feel so bad
I don't feel it anymore

I don't want you feeling sore
We were just kids for sure
I don't want you out of time

If I don't feel you on my arm
Then I got to stay so sharp
I do want it fighting back

It's never easy but your gone
I got to stay so strong
I don't need you on my back
Track Name: The Empty Hall
It’s one for all when you get in the hall
You've got to hold yourself right
Dressed in red; plastic horns on your head
You’ll drown in poison tonight

Choice of words, in the crudest of terms
Can determine your place
Watch your friends taken under their wings
You’ll see less of their face

The pride you felt in your chest as you walked inside
The sharp decline in your faith: it’s all lies
You’re wrapped up in the call of a brothers’ pact
But no one’s got your back
When you’re drunk and your finding it hard
Put your foot through the old balustrade
A fist through a fire alarm
They lie to your face when you’re in their arms
So hollow in comfort, their words now redundant
On the cusp of it all

There’s this farce that beats in its joke of a heart
It’s where the chanting will start
A rivulet, more like a sewer, underground
We’re in a backwards, old town
And we’ve all got our kerosene lit up, on a cloth, on a stick in the night
Getting high off the smell
And the thought of us brothers in arms, yelling psalms of misogyny, now makes me sick
We were getting high off that as well
Track Name: Intention and the Act
You carry callous thoughts
And moral stones to talk with
Judge post-haste
And with careless aim
So you send them spinning at my face
Your righteous eyes went wild
My failed bid to court you
Turned to trial
By your fire
Sharply spied in your vehement gaze
As crudely I’m
Cast in place
With your cronies spitting curses my way

If I confess it, dear
I’m on the edge of nothing
And the path from here
Is a tired trail
Going nowhere like a dog at his tail
Convinced you’re what I need
I should’ve seen this coming
But I planted feet,
In desperate soil
I cupped my hands and I begged for the spoils
It’s always like this
I mainly lose
And when I win, it’s hollow, stale and obtuse

In my own contest
Forces control if I win or I lose
But the fact that I’m playing, I can choose
Though compulsion insists when good reasons are few
But what’s it all to you?

It didn’t look like that
From your enlightened corner
So you rolled me back
Like a rotten ball
Dressed me up in one-size-fits-us-all
Suppose I could appeal
Plead with my fist of reasons
But they just won't stick
I can’t go back
My intentions missed the boat to the act
In a rolling wind
They were blown away
With my excuses for the way I behaved
Track Name: You Still Came Out
Don’t we ever change at all?
You were trading even then:
Your lunch for friends
Your pride for a chance
To be among their lot

The walk to school every day
Preparing what you’d say
But the crude conversations
Never went your way

You’re a girl again who’s soft denial
Becomes a hidden tide
That drags you out
Past the lines
Which essentially define:
Who is against you
And who’s on your side

All your attempts to impress
Were working in reverse
Disappointment on your face
Only made things worse
But your focus as always
Is on things you can’t mend
If there were friends there to be had it wasn’t them

Now you’re all made-up
With painted smile and such
Even widening eyes
But it’s barely more
Than a mask
Failing and slipping fast
Cause you never could hide things
And it simply won’t last
Melting from the fire in your gut

You still came out
On your own so brave
And you hoped it would convey
But your confidence
Is a shoddy raft
Patchy and leaking fast
So no courage you muster
Could float you forever
Your lip’s a quiver down into the drink

You twist yourself in desperate knots
Till there’s footprints on your back
All self-worth, bundled up
And thrown to the cruellest kinds
And you’ve developed a sickening
Acceptance of all of it
Like you think your fate is truly in their hands
And you just keep on pushing
Into a wall
Which you feel you got to break but it won’t fall

But moments come like parting clouds
Where I feel you’ve made some ground
There are many here who know you’re kind
So try not to wonder why
The others don’t thank you
Or don’t understand you
You’ve no need for them to waste your precious time
Track Name: Biscuits off the Back of a Truck
My father pulls
Over the car
All over the road

From the red

He leaves the car
Tells us to wait
Hurries off
To investigate

With our cracked
Track Name: No Suit You Have to Wear
It’s difficult to see in the dark
You panic fast
And pull all the sounds you don’t hear
To your frightened ear

Noise don’t cause you fear in the night
To wake in fright
It’s really the cold quiet room
Spilling blue coloured light

Several feet from where you lay
They’re waiting patiently
They never make a sound
Despite you hanging ‘round

You hear them through the car park at dawn
The curtain drawn
The rattling wheels, a car door
As there goes one more

Your father and you stand at their feet
You barely think
The words just repeat and slow down
“It’s all bad for me”

There’s no need to find your way
We all end in the same place
Don’t worry anymore
There’s no test to study for
No warden to impress
No suit you have to wear
No rules for styling hair
No magic underwear
Track Name: Anne
A North Western highway
With a view of Bass Strait
We wind past Boat Harbour
And Llewellyn Lake
Over the bridge
There are two streets to choose from
And countless opinions on which one is best to take

It’s here every summer
Where we’d all gather
And from my Grandmother
Came stories and games
Seemed an endless supply
Brings tears to my eyes now
Wondering just how many more little gems she had in store

Out of her hair
This patch had been shaved
I’m a punk rocker
Was the joke that she made
Though tiny and timid
Still such a brave heart
Taking her final steps down Irby’s Boulevard

We opened her cover
Her skin now had sun
And Sisters Beach air
Filling her lungs
For the last time
Though she’ll never leave us
A Banksia breathes, no weeds just native plants and trees
A note on the fridge we read, it’s warning still we heed
A mark on the beach she leaves as tides and life recede
Track Name: Got a Reason
Got a reason to feel
Alone like another lover
You got the rise and the fall
Built you up, you had your time then nothing
God I’m feeling poor

You walk around for a while
In a strange town just looking puzzled
You lost a kid in the war
And you don’t know want you should be fighting for
It was never over, you feel
But you know that I am now
As strange as this old town

And I won’t be a friend
And you won’t say a thing
With a little guilt lingering
Longer it seems
Made you call, then just let it ring
But don’t wait for it to reappear or come through
It never was that cool

I’d tuck you under my arm
And protect you like a little animal
Best get to racing you home
There’s a plane you got to get back on
I had a feeling you’d call
But you left nothing at all
Mourn for a feeling gone
Eyes of the loneliest one
Hide cause of shameful mind changing

Oh, it’s long gone, in short
I’m feeling free but it’s not so good
Never can escape
Those worst mistakes
When at first, seems it could be great
But spare no thought at all for whose heart it might break
Or whose mind could change

You wake yourself with a cold,
Hard look into the mirror
Got it all from your own
Advice swimming through your head
You could be giving me hell
Oh but you’re doing well
Always fighting it too
Don’t want to find that in you
I got to fight one too
Track Name: Heavy Hopes
Close my eyes and they’re all in a row
In this fight I’m alone
Thought of weight in my hands and I fold
My heart grows cold
All in the knowledge images seldom portray the ends that we crave

Sometimes I’m perverted I know it
So I’m dwelling, for comfort,
On thoughts how we age and our bodies decay
Still the fact remains
That while I will surely fade away, the lust of my youth could come to my grave
Accosted by ideals impossible, filling up days with self-loathing and rage

Bound by such heavy hopes
Grown from lumps in my throat
I’m so reluctant to swallow
But ashamed to have shown

Caught her eye on the bus through the window
A cold, dirty shiver growing sick in my guts
Comes and goes like a highway of headlights
That blinds and blinds again
To the dark empty road I’m travelling on with great foolish strides to shallow delights
Lost to the dull light of fickle white promises obsession affords to those on its course

And just like a tide drags me in
I’m distracted again
Watching them float – such pretty things
But they drift without end
To nothing, no end

(A face) alone upon a road
With nothing else to show
But empty names
And a curse here to remain