The Australian-bred, Berlin-based Parcels trade almost exclusively in nostalgia. Nostalgia specifically for ’70s-era soft rock. And the band is coming through Seattle tonight, playing at the Crocodile alongside Brooklyn-based band Penthouse Boys. Parcels' self-titled debut, which dropped last year, is heavy with synthesizers, funky guitar rhythms, and high-pitched vocals.
Listening to a song off the album like "Tieduprightnow" instantly transports you to a smoky dance floor where everyone is wearing polyester jumpsuits, shaking their hips, letting their gold chains bounce around amongst all their chest hair. Ok—maybe that's just me (I used to watch Saturday Night Fever a lot as a kid), but there's something to it! Parcels dresses the part, too—mock turtlenecks, blazers, shaggy hair—to give fans a fully immersive experience.
Parcels—which consists of Jules Crommelin on guitar, Patrick Hetherington and Louie Swan on synths, Noah Hill on the bass, and Anatole Serret on drums—came together right as they finished high school in New South Wales, Australia. After graduation, the five musicians picked up and moved to Berlin. "We didn't think too much about it," Hetherington told me during a recent phone interview. "We just wanted to get as far away from Australia as we could and do something different and exciting and musical."
Parcels is perhaps best known for their collaboration with elusive electronic music makers Daft Punk, who plucked the band out of relative obscurity after seeing them play their first French gig in Paris. The duo invited Parcels back to their studio and ended up co-writing and co-producing their song "Overnight," an easy, breezy dance tune that came out in 2017 and recalls both sweaty German electro dance floors and the discos of the days of yore. Daft Punk has mostly stuck with high profile collabs with artists like The Weeknd, Kanye West, and Pharrell, so "Overnight" gave the band the confidence to self-produce their own album.
"We learned so much on a practical level, on a studio level as well as on a theoretical level. The way they look at songwriting and really digging out the song and unearthing what's inside it was beautiful and we really took that on," Hetherington told me. "And then the biggest thing in terms of the album, is we got this confidence and that's what gave us the confidence to do it ourselves, to trust ourselves when no one else really did."
Though some of their 2018 self-titled debut sounds like groovy filler, their records are anchored by catchy, danceable, infectious singles, from "Withorwithout"—which, for a second, I thought was an even softer rock redux of the U2 track, and feels like the trek back home after a night out, to "Bemyself," like the sound of the sun setting after a day spent at the beach. Swing through the Crocodile tonight, and get into their grooves in person.