Parcels – ‘Parcels’ album review

The Australians have come good on their promise with a debut album that's cheeky, timeless and devilishly catchy

How many albums these days finish with a credit sequence? By our recollection – very few. You’re unlikely to see Drake  or Migos shouting out every producer and writer on their gigantic albums, while your average, self-serious indie band likely dare not even broach the concept. It seems, though, a fitting way for disco dudes Parcels to close their self-titled debut; on a playful final track, Berlin rapper Dean Dawson shouts out the record’s key players. It sums up everything so endearing about the band: they’re cheeky, timeless and devilishly fun. 

But let’s take this way back to the beginning. The self-described “surfer-dudes” from the coastal Byron Bay, Australia made their way to Berlin back in 2014, finding the bustling European atmosphere the perfect playground for their kaleidoscopic sound. A string of promising singles in 2016 turned them into a hot prospect, but it was funky Daft Punk collaboration ‘Overnight’ that turned the world’s heads proper back in 2017. Since, they’ve toured the world over, converting thrill-seekers into fervent fans, and confounding dancefloors with thrilling disco tricks. Their stellar live shows offer swishing hair, immaculate dance steps and pulsating breakdowns that would turn your average pop hit into a Giorgio Moroder-sized classic.

There are hints of one Moroder-featuring project all over ‘Parcels’; unsurprisingly, it proves to be the spiritual sequel to Daft Punk’s space-odyssey ‘Random Access Memories’. They give it a thoroughly unique twist, though. There are gorgeous harmonies on the pool-side jam ‘Bemyself’, and ‘Exotica’ is a soothing orchestral joint that push their songwriting into bold new territory.

Remarkably, ‘Parcels’ manages to be an album that transcends elements from across pop history while still sounding remarkably fresh. The shimmering disco tendencies of the ‘70s turn ‘Lightenup’ and ‘IknowhowIfeel’ into dance floor smashes, as influences from ‘80s pop titans like Hall & Oates and The Cars rear their heads on gooey cuts like ‘Withorwithoutyou’ and ‘Yourfault’. Meanwhile, ‘Tape’ sounds like it would sit nicely on The Strokes’ underrated synth-heavy 2011 album ‘Angels’, and ‘Everyroad’ has a chunky bassline wobble in its exuberant final third.

In a time when new acts are pressured into releasing as much music as possible, it’s commendable that Parcels have taken control of their destiny with a project that’s well-thought out and engaging from start-to-finish. It feels both timely and from a different era – a very rare feat. Then again, not many albums are made like this any more.