We caught the vibrant disco revivalists at their sold-out Somerset House show a few weeks ago and they didn’t disappoint.
Slap-bang in the middle of Somerset House’s customary summer concerts came Parcels; Byron Bay by way of Berlin, the five suave, disco revivalists’ careers have been on a steady incline since Messrs Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter (Daft Punk to me and thee) took a fancying to them, stumbling across them in a French club and lending their 70’s-centred sensibilities in the studio.
Tonight, they’d jetted into London’s capital on what could’ve been a Pan Am flight from ‘77, considering that they most certainly looked the part; fully suited and booted in the decade’s commonplace colour palette of beige, brown, and maroon. Their infectious, funk/disco/electro-pop myriad further helped to back their claim for a full-scale, mainstream resurgence.
There’s always a risk of Central London outdoor events being a bit, well, stale, whether or not it’s the clientele, the painful queues for beverages, or just the general lack of atmosphere. But the chipper five-piece ensured the occasion was a joyous lark from beginning to end.
Commencing with a medley of the opener from their eponymous LP ‘Comedown’ and ‘Myenemy’, frontman Jules Crommelin (who you have to double-take to check it’s not George Harrison reincarnate from afar) genuinely seems humbled by the sold-out crowd’s response.
And they give you every chance to respond, re-jigging the dynamics of their oeuvre to offer plenty of opportunities to incite a mass clap-along before a shoulder-shimmying instrumental breakdown. For a band that’s still relatively new, they’re incredibly polished.
‘Bemyself’ and ‘Withorwithoutyou’ take it down a notch, and in honesty feel a little uninspired – whilst both earnest, heartfelt attempts at crafting emotive balladry, even the Brian Wilson-esque harmonies come across as slightly tepid, especially on such a warm, sweaty night. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d included the pair into their set as much needed respite from the carpal tunnel-inducing strumming. I’m sure Nile Rodgers sympathises.
It’s the poppier, upbeat tracks like ‘Tieduprightnow’, ‘Lightenup’, and ‘Overnight’ where Parcels truly shine. And though the flat sound production negated a complete Studio 54 flashback, the diverse demographic dancing away in the Somerset House courtyard was further proof they’ve tapped into the universal language of disco.