If you’ve read any of my writing, you know I’m a lyric guy. I love a good melody, cutting edge instrumentation, but it’s the poetry that really gets me. While listening to the Australian band, Parcel’s new album Day/Night, and following along on the lyrics on Genius.com (thanks Genius!), I got the biggest thrills, actually, when it said [Instrumental Break].
It’s a long album, one hour and 36 minutes, but every moment keeps you engaged, with their brilliant disco-infused, then slow jazz-tinged modern rock. Like Marvin Gaye tunes or Steely Dan’s, their music is just captivating. That’s not to say that Parcels’ lyrics are bad. They’re simpler than most, but on this concept album, they tell a rich story of love and change.
“Now I care some more / Now I care some more // Now I love someone / Now I love someone,” they sing on the slow bop, off the first record, “NowIcaresomemore.” Love doesn’t need crafty wordplay and parlor tricks to keep you interested. Love, in the daytime, is simple and true, like the songs on the first disc.
There is deep feeling in both the musical composition and in the beautifully sung words. A double album is always a bold undertaking. Will the listener last the duration? Will each track be thrilling enough to merit the time commitment? “Holding out for something greater,” they sing on the track, “Somethinggreater,” towards the end of the first album, Day. It’s both a hopeful mantra and a promise, that we won’t be disappointed with the rest of our listen.
The initial power is in the beautifully constructed music on this record. In a way, it’s like going to a captivating show of the best of the best musicians, listening to this album. It was, in fact, at a live show, that Daft Punk found Parcels and helped catapult them into the spotlight on their track, “Overnight,” which came out in 2017. The first record ends with a track reminiscent of Fleet Foxes, “Outside”. Their range is impressive and their sound is at once original and surprisingly and satisfyingly rooted in the pantheon of modern music.
“Sun down / Lights out,” they sing over string swells to open their second disc, Night. Immediately, we’re transported to a new world. It is less innocent and wide-eyed and reaching than the first album. “I never loved her.” “You never decide.” “Make me colder to my bones.” It goes from their bright, daylight sound, to what feels like a disco nightclub at first. “Oh you’re famous / your way to paradise.”
There’s jazzy interludes like you can imagine in a lamplit city downtown. As the night progresses, however, you can feel a mood shift on the second disc. The devil is introduced and also war. The love they sing about takes on a more complex nature. Where the music was the focal point of the first record, the lyrics take on more maturity and nuance. The songs are an interesting direction for the band to take, many which are much slower and darker, and show the band’s amazing versatility.
The album comes full circle at the end of Night. “See the morning hour / glowing just like honey.” But the band is older and more world-weary by the end. “Holding on is taking a toll on me.” “I want another chance / But one is all you have.” “But once the fruit of God / forever live in hell.” They leave you on a bit of a depressing note, but the genius of the album is that, just like day follows night, you can listen to it all over again. Experience the innocence, then the experience, then the innocence again.
It’s an epic undertaking that Parcels successfully execute. Whether it’s disco hopefulness or somber jazziness, they reach you in all your feelings in this record. It plays a bit like a movie, and there is no one else I would want to soundtrack it. If you want to see all the possibilities of a band like Parcels, this is the album (or albums) for you. The thrill of the daytime, the reflection of the night time. It is anyone’s guess where they’re going to go from here. But having listened to the album, you understand, the whole world is this Australian band’s oyster.
Order Say/Night by Parcels HERE