Thursday, 23 January 2014
Album Review: FEELS LIKE CAROLINA
The North Carolina group first caught my attention with Musta Had a Good Time about a year ago. It's pretty catchy, but with lyrics strangely similar to Katy Perry's Last Friday Night, pushes the boundaries of mainstream country. It didn't quite settle with me.
But after hearing Carolina, I knew this group was the real deal. The simply story of separated lovers with a hooky melody almost brings you to bittersweet tears. That single climbed to number two on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, but according Billboard, only broke the top ten after 38 weeks. You can't stop a good song.
Lead singer Matt Thomas's voice is extremely versatile – from mournful to romantic to raspy. I also love the general mix and heavy bass on the album. The group reminds me of a rock version of Florida Georgia Line, and I think their sound actually has greater potential for longevity.
Think You Oughta Know That is a great example of the emotional connection these guys make with listeners. "I tell you that I want you, need you/What more can a man do?" A lost-love song like this has the potential to isolate listeners and make the singer look needy. Here, Parmalee comes across as vulnerable and confident at the same time.
Close Your Eyes has potential to be a huge hit. "Comin' on strong/I'm gonna lay it on your lips/Might wanna close your eyes for this." Again, the lyrics aren't over-the-top, but there's a connection. You might get tired of the light-rock guitars after a while, but I think Parmalee hits the mark and keeps the album radio-friendly for most country fans. They don't do anything crazy – they just put out many really good songs.
My Montgomery is worth a mention, too. The soaring choruses are a nice offset to the faster songs, and in an apparent sequel to Carolina, the singer is excited to finally return to his significant other back home. "Leaving the ground tonight/Trading those Chicago lights for fireflies."
In general, Parmalee is a refreshing group and a mild version of Jason Aldean. I love it, and look forward to following this band's career. According to their website, they've had a long, rough journey getting to this point – Feels Like Carolina looks like the turning point.
Country Luke's Rating: 8.5/10
Photo courtesy parmalee.com.