A Pretty OK Song: "Overnight" - Parcels
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! To usher in some good post-holiday vibes, I'm bringing you old-school, funk-heavy beats courtesy of a relatively new band called Parcels.
The most apt comparison for Parcel's sound would have to be Random Access Memories-era Daft Punk (think plucking guitar and combo jazz lounge drum hits with keyboard synths) mixed with a indie rock lead vocalist. When I first heard the song, I thought it might be a Daft Punk remastering of a song or a new Daft Punk collaboration (you know, that's a thing now since “Starboy”). Their sound on “Overnight” is very ‘70s funk, and I can't get enough.
Let me paint a picture for you. You've just left Sydney on a tiny plane headed for the northeast Australian coast. The flight is short—only an hour and a half long—and when you land, you're escorted off the plane directly onto the tarmac. (In Australia, cheap flights never make it to the gate; you always walk.) As you exit the plane, you get hit by a cool ocean breeze and sun—so much sun. You make your way into the sparse airport and find your bus to the town of Byron Bay.
Once you arrive, the landscape that surrounds you is flat, but lush with vegetation. As you drive into town, the sunlight trickles through the thick green canopies of the trees all around you. Slowly, houses appear on the horizon and you see your first hostel (you'll see so many hostels on this trip). Before you know it, you've hit downtown. It's not a huge downtown by any stretch of the imagination, but it's that perfect combination of civilization slowly giving way to the beach.
The bus drops you off at a cul-de-sac that overlooks the beach. It's beautiful. The water is a vibrant blue, and you can see the entire town reflected in it. It’s packed with surfers both young and old—those too old to surf in traditional ways have taken to stand-up paddleboarding.
All over the beach, you see patterns drawn in the sand, and as you look further down, you see the tiny silhouette of a man and his rake. He’s spent the whole day drawing these exquisitely elaborate patterns. The ocean breeze catches you again, and the familiar smell of saltwater instantly makes you feel at peace. You make your way to your hostel, drop off your things, and get into the water. The whole bay exudes this sense of calm. Everyone here is hospitable and laid back, and the town feels overwhelmingly local.
Byron Bay, a place that I had the pleasure of visiting, happens to be the home of Parcels. It was my favorite stop in Australia, and I think the town's vibe will give you a sense of where this band gets its inspiration from. Coincidentally, when I visited, Random Access Memories was at the peak of its popularity. I like to think that maybe Parcels was just getting started on their musical journey when I visited years ago. Maybe that summer, surrounded by friends under the stars, Parcels were grooving to Daft Punk too.
“Overnight” is a joy to listen to. Put the song on and let the infectious funk wash over you while you pretend that you're out in the water sitting on your board. The waves are calming down, and the last glimpses of sunlight are painting the sky in tones of purple, red, and gold. You've got nowhere to be, and time is sort of sitting still. This song brings me back to such a familiar time and place. I can only hope it does something similar for you.
Until next week.