19 Jun 2024
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Parallel Park - Album Review: Growing Taller

24 May 2024 // A review by Karl Brinsdon

Growing Taller from Parallel Park is a very interesting listen. To call it indie pop rock is like putting it into an existing box when it’s something unique that deserves to proudly stand alone. The album combines elements of indie, pop punk, alternative rock, grunge, shoegaze, classic rock, and modern prog rock. In most cases, if an artist wrote music with this combination in mind, it simply wouldn’t work but Parallel Park have created just the right blend.

Right from the start with Flower Fields the band present a sound which remains consistent throughout the album. Quite a spacey ambient guitar tone for cleaner sections with a degree of classic British jangliness (which apparently wasn’t a word until now). Immediately, the vocals demonstrate some serious ability and control. The vocal delivery is in a style that is so in at the moment within similar genres, it gave me hints of Hayley Williams (of Paramore), Olivia Rodrigo, and dare I say some early Taylor Swift.

Fooled Again hints at some other influences while remaining tonally consistent. The guitar and bass in particular reminded me of some deep cuts off Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and during the song’s bridge there are some triads played on the guitar that are very reminiscent of John Frusciante’s playing.

Then the band gives a more shoegazey fuzzed out reverbed sound on I Wish I Knew More transitioning into a clean sound after. At this point I was noticing this duality of clean and distorted sections. It’s a very 90's grunge approach to writing, something that has become hard to pull off without sounding incredibly cheesy, but I am pleased to say that Parallel Park do this incredibly well throughout Growing Taller without it being too cliche.

An interesting change was provided by Straight A’s, it’s funky. The guitar tone is really weird to me for reasons I can’t quite understand. There’s something that sounds slightly unnatural about it as if it’s been sampled or something. Perhaps some effect or technique I simply haven’t discovered yet. Whatever it is, it stands out and it’s interesting without being distracting. This approach of having interesting parts that don’t distract is a trend throughout the album, an indication that Parallel Park is a group of independently talented musicians who know how and when to hold back to create a song. This particular track had a keyboard element which added a more modern touch.

One Third has a vamping clean guitar at the start, something that I have usually encountered one a slightly more driven tone most likely due to trends within rock genres. Parallel Park have already made it incredibly clear through their music that genre trends aren’t always what they’re going for, so this is a cool take. During this vamp there are also some keyboard pads. The chorus distortion in this track and the overall sound of the chorus is so rock but it maintains so much of the pop element it could be mainstream. I don’t even know where to begin creating a sound like that and the only other band I can think of who do anything similar is Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers. This is what the mainstream needs more of.

Combining the Kooks, the All American Rejects, and some sort of modern day prog rock into one song is surely not something many people would consciously attempt, in fact from that description it sounds like the stuff of nightmares but in the case of Oversaturated, these elements come together to create something cool and unique. This track is the first time Parallel Park give us a drum-driven part in the bridge and after that, there’s a very enjoyable halftime feel.

Can We Talk? has a bouncy sound to the riff. It’s very indie in its sound but something about it is very New Zealand. There are some elements to this song that really remind me of Tablefox which is an interesting trend to see within New Zealand music.

As if we hadn’t heard enough combinations in of genre already, In My Mind adds a wah guitar part and in some places almost sounds reggae. The chorus is like an edgier version of the classic indie sound which is something I found particularly enjoyable. It was great to hear the bass highlighted in this track in the stripped back section. We also get a classic rocky solo!

Then incorporating some very modern sounding digital effects is We Don’t Call It Love. It’s really cool to hear these modern effects used in a subtle way in context, so many effects like these get demonstrated on YouTube by gear nerds in ways that are almost entirely impractical. This song has a great build into a Deftones-ish chorus from a more pop verse. The bridge gives hints of Red Hot Chili Peppers B-sides and a bit of Kings of Leon.

The title track, Growing Taller gave me hints of Bruce Springsteen with its vampy, upbeat sound. The walk of fuzzy guitar in the chorus is a particularly interesting texture in this track. The bridge uses some quite complex and sophisticated sounding note divisions that sound really quite impressive. That then builds into a garagey punky sped up section which, impressively, gives us something new right at the end of the album.

Overall I found it quite tricky to review this album because it’s not like what I normally listen to. It’s also not entirely like anything I’ve heard before. That’s probably because Parallel Park are creating something very different, unique, and of incredible quality in terms of songwriting, performance, and production. Most of my ramblings here will make little to no sense unless you hear this for yourself so do yourself a favour and get it in you. It will be interesting to see what Parallel Park come out with in the future and how they might continue pushing boundaries.

 

About Parallel Park

Parallel Park are a 5-piece indie pop rock band. Having played 20+ gigs in the past year, highlights for the band include playing a sold out Growing Taller album release gig in Nelson, performing as a guest band at the Rockquest national final, opening for Kiwi legends The Beths, gigs at Marchfest and the Nelson Arts Festival.

Their self-recorded and self-produced debut Album Growing Taller was released in February 2024 and their EP Parallel Park Vol. 1 was released in December 2022. The music video for their first single Can We Talk? reached over 200k views in its first week.

The band, playing together since intermediate school in 2017, comprises Zac Irving (Bass), Maisie Lucas (Drums), Florence McNabb (Vocals), Ethan Carde (Guitar), and Kahu Sanson-Burnett (Guitar, Keys, Production). All members contribute to songwriting and their music incorporates indie, rock, pop, and folk influences.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Parallel Park

Releases

Growing Taller
Year: 2024
Type: Album

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