Overnight, Parachute’s third album, launched today. The band was straight out of college when they were picked up by Dave Matthews Band’s Red Light Management in 2008. (Eat your hearts out, graduates of the Great Recession!) Since then, you’ve probably heard Parachute’s songs in Nivea's skincare ads and Walmart's TV commercials, without even realizing it. With their new album, the band has updated their straightforward pop sound to incorporate the newest popular electronics. It’s a good move that will hopefully allow their songs to effortlessly slip onto pop radio's airwaves. Overnight's songs are unlikely to make a huge splash, but they're catchy and fun. The album will appeal to people who enjoy upbeat music and charismatic musicians.
Every song on Overnight features very clean, falsetto choruses. Parachute’s lead singer, Will Anderson, hits all the right notes, and his harmonies are spot on. The band tries out some pretty experimental B-sections and bridges on a couple songs, but beyond that, Overnight doesn’t stray far from its core. The album’s lead single, “Can’t Help,” sounds nearly identical to a handful of Maroon 5 songs, which is fine. The music world can comfortably accommodate multiple Maroon 5s. (For what it's worth, Will Anderson’s voice is more dynamic than Adam Levine’s, but less distinctive.)
The band's new electronic sensibilities come through in the use of loops, samples, drum machines, and echo chamber effects, which add some extra ear candy to the songs. Parachute’s melodies are simple, but their soundscapes are incredibly dense. There is barely any space in the music that is not filled with a texture, or a doubled, tripled, or quadrupled guitar track. It’s way overproduced, but that’s what gives it a pop sound. I was hoping that the dominance of overproduction was starting to break a bit, given the popularity of leaner, more soulful songs like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” (my review of the latter is here) but I guess these transitions can take a while.
The album's standout track is the electro-trash gospel hymn “Higher,” which showcases the band at its most adventurous. If Wavves, Queen, and Purity Ring were to ever cross space and time to collaborate, “Higher” would probably be the result. It’s regrettable that the band didn’t try to center the rest of Overnight around the song's sound.
Parachute’s music is solid, but it’s not quite fashionable enough to make it to the forefront of pop playlists. Whether you will enjoy this album comes down to what you’re looking for in music. If you’re looking for music that moves you, challenges you, and opens your mind up to new possibilities, Overnight probably isn't the album for you. If you want your music to be comfortable, toe-tappy, and fun, check out Parachute's new album, and be merry.
My bottom-line rating? 6.5 summers filled with ice cream cones and acoustic guitars, out of 10.