Image Credit: Mia Rankin
Made up of guitarist Jules Crommelin, keyboardist Louie Swain, keyboardist/guitarist Patrick Hetherington, bassist Noah Hill, and drummer Anatole ‘Toto’ Serret, Parcels formed in 2014 in Byron Bay. Since then, they have released a self-titled album in 2018 and, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a live studio album, Live Vol. 1, recorded at Hansa Studios in Berlin. Day/Night is their third studio album, released on the 5th of November.
Glorious, breathtaking, and venturous, Parcels have proved themselves incredible genre-bending stylists with Day/Night. This five-piece’s highly-anticipated record is made up of two self-contained albums—Day and Night. It was recorded at La Frette Studios in Paris and presents a total of nineteen songs, along with the single version of ‘Free,’ ‘Comingback,’ ‘Somethinggreater,’ and ‘Famous.’ The two albums explore the concept of duality, cleverly mirroring each other with songs like ‘LIGHT’ and ‘SHADOW,’ ‘Daywalk’ and ‘Nightwalk,’ and ‘Outside’ and ‘Inside.’
Day opens with the beautiful strings of ‘LIGHT.’ The meditative opening smoothly transitions into funky jams. The percussion is terrifically vibrant and the jazzy guitar licks are not to be missed. With lyrics like, ‘See that sun / Burning down / Morning lights / Calling out,’ ‘LIGHT’ charges the good spirits to full. Without a doubt, it is one of the best songs on the record. ‘Free’ and ‘Comingback’ effortlessly extend this warmth.
The album’s fourth track, ‘Theworstthing,’ is soft and melancholic. The bass octaves neatly capture the vulnerable moment of lyrics such as: ‘And even though I do not care / I wish that I would have you here.’ Parcels’ lyrics are just as beautiful as they are simple: ‘Looking for a warmer way / Another glass of wasted wine.’ With its extremely tasty guitar solo, ‘Theworstthing’ explores jazz territories. It is marvelously nonchalant and memorably aesthetic.
The album’s seventh track, ‘Somethinggreater,’ sweeps us up in Parcels’ familiar disco-funk grooves. ‘Till it lasts forever / Till it lasts so long’ is sung genuinely and affectionately. The sweet and spritely song gives listeners a nostalgic flashback to Daft Punk thrills. ‘Daywalk,’ the penultimate, instrumental track, takes us on an experimental and laid-back detour. However, Day’s seven-minute outro is a little bit too protracted.
Turning to the dark side of the record, Night is slower but more fervent. The second track, ‘Neverloved,’ incorporates elements of rock into the piano’s powerful progression. The combination of strings and percussion renders the song deeply bitter and fiery. ‘Famous,’ however, gives the album a fresh and liberating twist. With fun percussion and solo breaks, the song is incredibly energetic and lively. The chorus ‘You’re famous / Your way to paradise,’ has a real buzz to it. Delivering the slick and stylish vibe of CHIC, ‘Famous’ appears as a striking celebration of ’70s disco.
‘LordHenry’, the fifth track of Night, begins with grand, dramatic strings which soon switch to an uplifting guitar jam. It soon explodes into one of Parcels’ signature vocal harmonies. The five-piece brilliantly experiments with changing tempos and electric noises, making this song a highlight of the record. The next track, ‘Thefear,’ takes an emotional turn with its flowing keys and irresistible rhythm. The use of backmasking adds another nice little flourish.
At times mellow and at times cathartic, Parcels’ Day/ Night probes into the themes of day and night, present and past, and hope and fear. Some tracks on the record are more complementary and do not stand out on their own. For fans, the record may nevertheless be a pleasant surprise. It is one that sounds very different from Parcel’s familiar disco-funk tunes. While the music has less of an electro touch, the record is an interesting blend of classical, rock, disco, folk, and jazz. Parcels are good at challenging themselves and have successfully delivered their third studio album. Overall, their 96-minute production makes for an enjoyable listening experience, and the live show in ten months will be one worth anticipating.
Edited by Josh Aberman, Music Editor