PARCELS LIVE: NON-STOP RETRO ELECTRO-POP

It’s a full house for Parcels as part of the Somerset House Summer Series, and they’re taking every single person on a journey down Everyroad they’ve travelled.

Despite the fact that Parcels are undoubtedly creating one of the coolest sounds around right now, there’s something enticing and delightfully kitsch about their stage presence, as if they’re performing on an early evening, American TV show in the 1970s. “Ladies and gentlemen, how you doing out there?” Patrick Hetherington (one of two keyboard players) asks the audience, with the excitement of 1970s Donny Osmond greeting a basket of puppies. It’s another reason why they’re quickly becoming a firm favourite — particularly to this sold out, Somerset House crowd.

The Australian born, Berlin based five piece (with Patrick joined by Louie Swain on keyboard, Noah Hill on bass, Anatole “Toto” Serret on drums and Jules Crommelin on guitar) create funk-fuelled, electro-pop, with huge nods to the 70s, and a huge dose of European disco. (Thanks, in part, to Daft Punk becoming fans and producing some of their earlier work. Not a bad way to get things going.)

Their debut, self-titled album is already a masterpiece, with soundscapes created and instrumentals elongated to show the focus of their craft — not every song is a singalong, but in a live setting, with an extra injection of energy from the band, it’s near impossible not to dance along. In fact, few bands look like they’re enjoying their own gig as much as Parcels, and when not beaming smiles at each other, they pull the sorts of faces to the crowd only seen now on early Beatles or Beach Boys footage. 

Gamesofluck (from early EP Hideout) is sped up, stunning electro-ballad Withorwithyou is faithful to the studio version, and epic album track Everyroad is dissected, with some of the spoken sections switched for live radio tuning between stations — the FM fuzz (as apposed to sleek DAB) a reminder of their analogue influences. And with a brick wall backdrop behind them for the first half of the evening, you quickly realise that despite the glitz of the disco influences, their experimentalism gives them a hint of Pink Floyd too.

As the brick wall becomes a shimmering curtain, changing colour with each track, the non-stop dance party continues (with some actual choreography during one track) before climaxing with Tieduprightnow, and for anyone seeing the band for the first time one thing becomes clear: On record you quickly fall for this band, but when you see them live you realise they’re everything. Well crafted songs, a seamless setlist and the nicest boys in the music biz — Parcels really are the perfect package.

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