“A refreshing turn in the midst of the music void”.
I delved to the depths of Eastern-European post-punk and Irish folk music in my period of being in the music void. Nothing excited me anymore, for months now. Everything was just a copy or something I didn’t like in the first place. I can now thankfully shout that I am out of that void with the highly-anticipated debut album from Parcels. Reaching the level of hype that Parcels have reached prior to releasing their debut album is rarely seen. And if it is seen, the debut album even more rarely fails to capture the essence of what made them popular. It’s normally inundated with something or other a man in a suit has deemed will propel them to commercial success and they often dump their grittiness and listen to them. Parcels are an exception, that’s the perfect word to describe them. An exception.
The Berlin-based band have just released their self-titled debut album and I’m sure there’s a sense of calm before the storm In the Parcels camp. They improved the sound they had found success within Older and Overnight and produced 12 tracks that are stand-alone uniquely brilliant.
I usually say a few highlights and a few lesser desirable tracks but this album has made it impossible for me to dissect. My favourite seems to be Tape, but that changes every time I listen to another song again. So, for right now, as of Friday afternoon, it’s Tape. This song I predict will be the benchmark of the band. The one that people compare their future works too. It’s melancholy and funky. That’s Parcels. Listen to album opener Comedown or YourFault and tell me that isn’t a perfect description for them. At the end of this paragraph, my favourite has changed to YourFault, on that note.
Lightenup vocals and melody are strong. It’s up in the clouds but held together by the bass and sharp guitar. It’s a song that will make it into my playlist for songs that felt like they should have already been released by a 70’s psych band. Everyroad is an over-8 minute journey, the intended purpose. It puts you into a scene in your head of the calm chaos. It’s Talking Heads meets Led Zeppelin, and that may just be my highest compliment for this album. I particularly like the synths in this one. Withinorwithout you is the saddest song of the album for me. It’s haunting but also relatable and grounded in reality. The instrumentals are semi-upbeat but the vocals and lyrics pour you into a funky depression. Lyrically it’s the strongest song on the album, contested with Iknowhowifeel. Even though this doesn’t seem lyrically especially amazing, sometimes simple is just the best fit for a sound. It doesn’t need to be a nick cave self-referential monologue to be good. Teasing us with that long disco rock jam to introduce us to the vocals of the band.
Exotica is a refreshing turn for the closing quarters of the album. They’ve pulled out the acoustic and hung their George Harrison poster back up on the wall. It’s groovy and soulful and the perfect soundtrack to walking in the sun too but, as they can so perfect encapsulate- it’s perfect to walk in the rain too as well. Tieduprightnow, the first single of the album that we were treated to had piqued the interest of us all but I never felt my usual anxiety that the album had peaked with its first single. I was strangely reassured that Parcels had more up their flares. And how right I was. A shout-out to the end of the album with Credits. Dean Dawson thanking everyone that helped contribute to the album over funky instrumentals is something I did not think I needed, but now something I don’t know what I did in life before it.
I can tell with this band that they will become the go-to band for void-filling. Whenever a new Parcels record will be announced, everyone will know they will have something they will love regardless of the vision or style. Parcels are fascinating to watch live. Visually, they are moulding their own identity both with their stage presence and artwork. I can’t predict the future of Parcels, which is why they have enthralled me so much.
Words by Jack Wager.
Image Credit: Antoine Henault