No band is quite like Parcels. They’re a bunch of Aussies who found their voice in Berlin. They play music which is simultaneously entirely kitsch and so utterly transcendent of it’s inspirations that is manages to sound timeless. Not many can walk that tightrope – go too far and you’ll jump the shark, don’t go far enough and you’ll end up as a poor imitation. Parcels take that tightrope and tie it in a figure-eight knot.
The moustachioed misfits took to the stage with minimal fuss before launching into a set of uninterrupted funk and disco. It’s pastiche, but it comes from a loving reverence, not magpie instinct. They capture the look and spirit of the mid 70s so perfectly it’s startling – like models from a yellowing Ikea catalogue brought to life.
However any residual fustiness dissipates on stage. The music is fun and inviting, and a party atmosphere prevails in the Brudenell’s Community room. Whilst their debut album just dropped this month, their defining track remains the airy ‘Overnight’, a Daft Punk produced standalone released last year.
However this is propped up by a litany of cuts from the new album, including the blissful taste of Krautrock ‘Withinorwithout’. ‘Lightup’ & ‘Tieduprightnow’ are brought to life vividly, often extended with lavish instrumentals. Indeed, some of the strongest moments of the night come from extended jams, one of which escalates to involve a portable radio, tuned in to what sounds like the Man Utd post-brief.
The band are remarkably at ease on stage. Guitarist Jules Crommelin is the double of ‘Hey Jude’ era McCartney, and his bandmates don’t skimp in the aggressively dated hair stakes. Yet their banter comes easy and never drags on unnecessarily. They plug their album, before Jules and fellow singer Patrick Hetherington jump into the crowd.
Parcels are a real gem of a band, and the crowd they draw tonight are fervent, more than most. Their retro-tinged disco sound is absolutely undeniable, and how anyone could come away from this performance with anything less than sheer satisfaction is a mystery for them to ponder.