Music / Features
Track by Track:
Parsnip - Adding Up
Words by Seamus Fillmore
Monday 6th July, 2020
A month on from its release, playful-punk savants Parsnip walk us through the Adding Up EP, their latest collection of jolty earworms.
Less than a year ago we were gifted the mischievous and poetic debut album When The Tree Bears Fruit from Melbourne four-piece Parsnip - a 33-minute exploration into a weird and wonderful world underpinned by nursery rhyme nonsense and celebrations of the highs and lows of life. The album presented a band comfortable in their own curious sound - a mixture of punk that’s kind on the ears and pop that’s often confusing to sing along to. Now Parsnip return with Adding Up, a 10-minute package of excitingly peculiar garage-pop out through premium-Aussie-punk-export-epicentre: Anti Fade Records.

Deft songwriting, joyous chant-like vocals, and a healthy dash of downright weirdness - Adding Up delivers everything we've come to expect and revere from Parsnip. The opening (and title) track jumps unceremoniously into a warped bop, setting the pace for an EP that refuses to sit still. The four short songs zigzag artfully between mildly fuzzed guitar, melodic synth work and precise drums, always composed with a clever restraint. A cover of Fire’s ‘Treacle Toffee World’ gives a direct (and tasteful) nod to the band’s 60’s garage influences and is followed promptly by the preschool nightmare grooves of ‘Crossword Cheater’.

With songwriting responsibilities divvied throughout the band, the three original tunes cover sombre themes of financial stress, mundane frustration, and the cyclical nature of passing time and relationships - but rarely allow this to dampen their high-spirited musical propulsion. The EP is rounded out by its longest song yet (a whopping three minutes and five seconds) – the guitar-driven ‘Repeater’ chants an apt mantra “going forward, looking backward” before fading away atop a building rhythm akin to a musical cliff hanger. A triumphant return, Adding Up is over all too quickly and leaves us eager for more insights into the enticing world of Parsnip.
Adding Up

Paris Richens: ‘Adding Up’ was written some years ago when I was on the dole and studying full time, just scraping by in the big ol' smoke. There was a particular Leunig cartoon I was fond of that questioned whether or not a Higher Being exists and whether it even matters when some people are barely existing themselves, eking out day by day, powerless to the suits in charge. “Eking is the key to wisdom and a life well lived” … mind you I didn’t have it that bad, but I was feeling the pinch and figured I’d write a song about it, dammit!!! Originally a fairly sombre track, this recording is certainly a lot bouncier and colourful than I felt at the time - but it’s nice to revive it with Parsnip and release it now, perhaps more relevant than before in this period of hardship.  

Treacle Toffee World

Stella Rennex: I first heard ‘Treacle Toffee World’ on Adventures in the Mist, a volume of the 60s British psych series Rubble. We enjoy learning covers as a band for a change of pace from the routine of writing and workshopping original material. This song seemed a perfect fit for us; the instrumentation, group vocals and simple chuggalug that draws us all to 60s garage... what a hit! Plus it’s not all that well known, so hopefully some people will think we wrote it!

Crossword Cheater

Rebecca Liston: ‘Crossword Cheater’ was written about a fictional scenario (inspired by true feelings) of watching someone cheat on the crossword. Sometimes all a good song needs is some anger and a catchy hook, so I tried my hand at it and it came out as silly and punchy as I’d hoped, with everyone adding their own creative spin to the parts.


Carolyn Hawkins: ‘Repeater’ is a song I wrote really quickly, without thinking too much about it. I find if I agonise over things too much these days then I just give up so I need to just strike while the iron is hot. The words are about getting hung up on past relationships and wondering where those people are now (and reflecting on where I am now, too). It’s also a song about time passing, and seeing patterns repeating themselves over and over. Like the riffs I mistakenly lifted right out of ‘Can’t Explain’ and ‘Proud Mary’ hahaha - all these things just circulate and spin around in your head until they get spat out again and the cycle repeats itself. 

Adding Up is out now through Anti Fade Records - head here to purchase the EP on limited 7" vinyl.