Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Arlo Parks: Collapsed In Sunbeams (Transgressive)

Arlo Parks: Collapsed In Sunbeams (Transgressive) B&S review



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UK release date 29.01.2021

Arlo Parks is a British singer-songwriter and poet known for her singles "Cola" and "Black Dog". Widely regarded as a breakthrough act in 2020, this 20-year-old has already appeared at last year's Glastonbury and Latitude festivals so now with her debut album delivered, we can palpably see she is ready to take it up a level.

Her gentle, languid yet melodic, vocal style sits perfectly over the cool funky beats and backing of the music. It's a refreshing sound and "Too Hard" is an incredibly catchy song, like many here on offer, call me old fashioned but commercial instincts are a good characteristic to have and she has an engaging style to boot.

"Hope" continues the mission statement, a deceptively simple piano-driven track embracing friendship over a simian soundscape and some moody spoken word just adds to the overall brilliance, as does the otherworldly twangy guitar. The music has room to breathe and the lo-fi blessedness just amplifies the intention and "Caroline" ramps it up further. A very listenable and relatable song as is "Black Dog" all mysterious and searching, a eulogy to a friend suffering mental anguish and health (the next unseen pandemic we'll all be facing) it's a beautiful yet bittersweet ditty channelling sadness and sickness sung in her angelic, trademark breathy style.

Raw in texture yet ambitious in scope, this artist tells it as it is, she knows the world is a cruel and messed up place but she's sticking to her guns and spilling her heart out all over the place with visceral intensity. You've got to salute Parks for her delicious debut, it's a great tonic for those long winter nights ahead and it makes a vivid impression.
Words Emrys Baird

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