Hollywood Sunset was released in late 1973 by Pye with publicity in the national music press. In December 1973 BUZZ magazine promised a review of the album and an interview with the band in the next issue.
The interview appeared but not the review. And, remarkably, throughout the interview the new album was never referred to by name but only as "the new album".
Why could this have been? Hollywood Sunset was one of two albums to break the mould of the Jesus music scene at this time. The other was Larry Norman's So Long Ago the Garden. The magazine was similarly dismissive of Norman's controversial album, which, in its various pressings, contained little "evangelistic" material and a great deal of sharp comment and introspection.
Whilst BUZZ's parent organisation, Musical Gospel Outreach had pioneered the use of contemporary music styles, it's name indicates the belief that the music was largely there to support evangelisation.
Hollywood Sunset never once mentioned the name of Jesus or God. Just two songs had an explicit Christian message, Gift and Death in Jerusalem. You are my morning was a worship song with ambiguous lyrics. There was road music, urban angst, mysticism and some mild eroticism.
It was intended to break Parchment out of the Christian ghetto and establish them as serious recording artists. It was a professionally produced, early 70s pop album - but was probably about 12 months too late in terms of the rapidly-shifting 1970s pop tastes. It remains a great album and like all four Parchment albums is best listened to as a whole.
Although its pop-style makes it in some ways more dated than the other three albums, it's also probably the strongest lyrically. Songs like You are my morning, Gift and Getting out of this town are beautifully crafted whilst Dobbie's Song and I'm a Man expressed a thoughtful mysticism. The title track, written a couple of years before Star Wars transformed Hollywood's fortunes, seems quite meaningless now but has a classic Parchment sound whilst Death in Jerusalem's freaky electronic effects make it a psych folk classic.
John Pac told Buzz interviewer Danny Smith: "I think it's wrong to trick people into the concert and then to bang the gospel at them. If the music is related to their lives, they're prepared to listen."
Danny Smith wrote: "Parchment's struggle to retain their artistic integrity has caused concern - even doubts and rumours about their Christian commitment."
Pac responded: "People might feel we've compromised but that's not so..."
Curiously the water-coloured sunset cover was echoed by Sue Mack's band River on their second album Rise Like the Sun.
Here's the review that Buzz could have written: "A mould-breaking second album from our greatest band. You don't think it's a Christian album? Check out the ballad Gift and the barnstorming Death in Jerusalem. The album shows the band at their song-writing best with profound and poetic lyrics in songs such as You are My Morning and sing-a-long melodies on songs like Butterfly. Are Parchment still a folk band? This is as much pop as folk but there are still the distinctive harmonies, the mandolin, the dobro and the furiously played acoustic guitars.This is very much a road album, a bunch of musicians leaving their native Liverpool to see the wider world. But will it break the band out of the Christian ghetto? We fear not but hope they won't give up and will continue to write and record innovative and cutting edge music."
Here is that BUZZ interview in full from January 1974.