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Album review: Parcels - Parcels

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Parcels, a five-piece of self-proclaimed ‘surfer dudes’ hailing from Byron Bay have captivated Europe with their infectious electro-funk floor-fillers since moving to Berlin.

Self-titled debut Parcels is simultaneously timeless, futuristic and current – a slick revamp of 70s Chic discotheque glitz, embarking on a trip back into the dizzy disco days and eclipsing a plethora of musical decades in the process. The band’s biggest musical achievement putting them onto the music map has been their collaboration with Daft Punk, who produced the single ‘Overnight’ which radiates Random Access Memory disco-funk-goodness. The presence of music giant Nile Rodgers is influentially evident in the track, as it is in the entirety Parcels. Parcels’ revitalisation of disco is even arguably more successful than Nile Rodger and Chic’s About Time, which dampens the glamourous disco realness with unfitting collaborations.

Singles from Parcels, ‘Lightenup’ and ‘Tieduprightnow’ are the core of the album’s manifestation of authentic disco; wiggly and infectious basslines that sound as though Nile Rodgers could’ve written them himself, syncopated synths and soft, non-invasive vocals that allow the rich backings to shine through. ‘Lightenup’ embodies the notably upbeat 4/4 tempo associated with the genre, along with an 80s style minor key synth-guitar melody, a nod to the likes of David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’.

Additionally, bassline giant ‘Iknowhowtofeel’ is refreshingly musically focused – vocals don’t kick in until 2 minutes into the song, thus the track immerses itself in nostalgic funk, especially with the genius revival of the wah-wah pedal, which can also be subtly heard in ‘Tape’.

‘Closetowhy’ is a sun-drenched, futuristic voyage, bursting into a self-assured synth distortion instrumentals and gated drums, taken either further by the techno-esque ending of ‘Everyroad’ – heavy bass meets disco syncopation. ‘Everyroad’ can be seen to represent Parcels’ mission; to make disco accessible to modernity.

The Australian boy-band also prove themselves to be capable of more than just churning out disco tracks; Parcels is chock full of slower tempo tracks, with oozing harmonies that effortlessly melt into each other. ‘Exotica’ has a drifty feel to its strums and vocal melody, surging into a blissful orchestral string arrangement. Whilst ‘Bemyself’ embodies its lyrics of calm self-contentment in its relaxed percussion and gliding pace, “I'm trapped, but I'm trapped in a booth / I can free myself, free myself.” ‘Yourfault’ is an electronic personification of The Beach Boys, with tropical chords, caressing vocals and even the sounds of an exotic holiday destination at the end.

Parcels also address the entity between the upbeat and the relaxed, resulting in revolutionary disco fusion. ‘Comedown’ has a guitar-line that intricately weaves itself in between vocals and sweeping, full-bodied synth chords, with an emphasis on the catchy vocal repetition of ‘come down’.

The album’s ending, ‘Credits’, cannot go unmentioned. An eccentric list of credits for the album read out by Dean Dawson, over a funky instrumental. This injection of personality, along with the one-word song names, represents just how fun and quirky Parcels are – not just in their music, but as a band. Parcels is a masterpiece in originality, a breakout from generic ‘indie-boy bands’. Their revitalisation of musical eras is exemplary – they beautifully capture the essence of disco in a modern framework. 

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