This review was originally published on Under The Gun Review.
Genre: Pop, Rock
RIYL: The Cab, A Rocket To The Moon, The Summer Set
In 2009, a band from Charlottesville, VA called Sparky’s Flaw changed their name and released an album called Losing Sleep. I borrowed this from my public library and subsequently listened to it a number of times, only to move past it and all but forget Parachute.
Come 2011, Parachute releases what would be my favorite album of that year. The record was called The Way It Was and I wrote way too many words about it.
Now it’s 2013. Overnight is now available in stores and for the past two weeks, I’ve been trying to find where I land on it. It’s somewhere in-between nostalgic expectation and new-found appreciation for creative expansion.
Whatever you call it, it’s good. The album is very good. It matches the sincerity of The Way It Was and adds new flavors to the mix that are surprising and welcomed.
The record starts off with “Meant to Be,” a grooving anthem with a 7 word chorus. It’s simple, it introduces all of the nuances that makes Parachute who they are to new listeners and reminds old fans that they can make a romantic pop song with total ease.
A drum kit and a synth keep the groove moving with “Can’t Help.” It’s snarky, it’s ambitious, and it’s got attitude. Its follower, “Drive You Home,” sounds like a piece of One Direction material cut into the shape of Parachute’s form. It’s single material.
“Hurricane” is one of my favorites on the album. I’ve always been a sucker for the slower jams from this band. Songs like “American Secrets,” “Forever and Always, and “Kiss Me Slowly” really drew me in and I’m glad to see them sticking to a formula that clearly worked for pop listeners like myself.
The title track, “Overnight,” is vast and the most unique song yet. Phil Collins drums pave a war path for the wailing and flanging guitar that rises ambiently out of a steady bass bed. The sound here was totally unexpected and my hats come off to the steps they’ve taken in their musicianship, displayed most prominently here.
It doesn’t stop there either. The next song, “Didn’t See It Coming,” is an odd mixture of genre and influence. It starts with a story-telling bit that might be most closely comparable to the bridge section of Big and Rich’s “Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” as a modern example. It’s a masked 60s throwback with some good old fashioned attitude. Then the pre-chorus chimes in to warm up the repetitive and totally infectious chorus. More prose. More pre-chorus. More chorus. Then Chris Brown. Well, not quite. The bridge is channeled from the sound of modern teen R&B a la Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, and the aforementioned woman-beater. The song isn’t violent though. It’s eclectic, but it’s inventive and sure to get you moving.
If “Didn’t See It Coming” was the climax to the album, “The Other Side” is the natural fall that slopes towards the album’s close. A beautiful ballad with well written personification. “Waiting For That Call” is less abstract. This one is a pulsing composition well matched with the more theologically based “Something To Believe In” from their previous record. It’s loud, it’s proud, and features an ambitious bridge that carries into the final round of its unquitting chorus.
“The Only One” is gorgeous. I wish that physical advances were still prevalent for songs like these. The writing and musicianship is so phenomenal on this specific track that I want to know exactly who is responsibly for its existence. If the band wrote this themselves, it’s a great and mature addition to their already solid catalogue. Stunning.
Coming down to the last two songs, I almost found it hard to believe the last song wasn’t chosen for the closer. That said, “Disappear” is written for that very purpose. Piano and acoustic guitar provide the mattress for Will Anderson’s ever elegant vocals to lay on. Tumblr macros will thrive from this song alone for months. Plenty of romantic quotables to be had.
“Wait. I thought you said ‘Disappear’ was written to be the closer?” Yea. I did.
“Higher” doesn’t fit. Better advertised as a bonus track, this adds a stadium anthem remix sound at the cost of ruining the natural flow of the record. I think they were going for an uplifting end, but it doesn’t work for me. It’s not a bad song. It just has bad placement.
As a whole, the album meets my expectations. The bar was set high with The Way It Was, but this adds to their sound in a welcomed way. I’m eager to see how the reception and sales turn out. Parachute have everything it takes be the big thing on pop radio. I hope that’s seen by those to whom it counts.
Buy Overnight here.