Parcels // Fortune Sound Club
This issue has been a cause for discussion in music media recently because of bands like Greta Van Fleet, who came under fire for sounding too much like their main influence, Led Zeppelin, cashing in on our fondness for familiarity without offering anything new.
Parcels focus on recycling rather than regurgitating by celebrating both past and contemporary sounds. The band are a smorgasbord of 70s funk and disco, and the kind of indie pop regularly featured on Urban Outfitters and Topman playlists. The fact they were discovered by Daft Punk and self-produced their glistening debut which was released on hip electronic music label, Kitsuné, adds a layer of authenticity to their intention as a throwback band.
Parcels performed the 10th consecutive sell-out show of their expansive 2019 world tour at Fortune Sound Club.
Sporting flashy matching jumpsuits, support act, Penthouse Boys, played a set of old school hip-hop influenced synth-pop. Their cheeky lyrics, fun personality, and energetic dad-dance breaks could be a hit for a liquored up and flirty 2am crowd. Unfortunately, in the context of this show, Penthouse Boys felt a little jarring. The performance was overshadowed by overzealous use of that siren sound and a lack of memorable tunes. Like a personal joke between a group of friends that you’ve been left out of, it was difficult to follow the punch line.
The enthusiastic crowd was already chanting “Parcels” long before the lights dimmed. The band launched straight into the first track of their debut album, “Comedown,” pausing dramatically to allow the audience to release a deafening scream before the bass dropped in.
Breaks were few and far between and the set flowed almost seamlessly. This was both a blessing and a curse as their sound is so consistent that it was sometimes hard to distinguish between individual songs until they got to the hooks in the choruses.
Parcels are an extremely talented band that were exhilarating to watch live. The percussive, muted guitar plucks, pounding bass, and tight drumming led a driving rhythm that kept everyone dancing from beginning to end. The four-part harmonies were pitch-perfect and the band members switched lead vocal duties which allowed the unique qualities of each of their voices to shine through. Keyboard duo, Louie Swain and Patrick Hetherington, were the stars of the show, delivering unconventional sounds and impressive displays of talent as they frantically bashed the keys while never missing a note.
Despite their cool and artsy visual aesthetic, Parcels had a playful and charming aura. It was a pleasure to see the band truly enjoying themselves and bouncing off the positive energy in the room. Hetherington was particularly fun to watch as he looked as though he was having the time of his life.
As the band wear their influences on their sleeve, comparisons to acts like The Bee Gees and Chic, as well as tunes off Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” album are a given. But they blend the retro sounds so well and have just enough of a modern twist to feel fresh. Parcels’ live performance felt like a loving tribute and they radiated an infectious sense of joy that left me hoping that this was not just a lightning in a bottle moment.
Photos: Yasmin Hannah
Review: Adam Bouteloup