“The lights go down in Brooklyn,” sings Will Anderson at the opening of Parachute’s debut album, Losing Sleep. Right now I’m sitting in my Brooklyn apartment, the lights are down, and I’m losing sleep trying to write this review.
Parachute’s debut: Something to lose sleep over?
Do I take the newsy approach, talking about the many things that the band accomplished leading up to this record? The Parachute fellows performed in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Their music has appeared in Nivea ads and on “One Tree Hill.” The video for the single “She Is Love” is on MTV and VH1 and, as I write this, Losing Sleep is sitting pretty atop the iTunes’ album charts, above names like Green Day, Taylor Swift and Kings of Leon.
Or should I pick the local angle, rooting for the boys formerly known as Sparky’s Flaw as the home team? They’re the next Dave Matthews Band, right? Coran Capshaw’s Red Light Management propelled them to their current perch, helped them build an impressive fan base and ink a deal with a major label. Losing Sleep may not be in line with the usual Charlottesville musical offerings, but these pop-rock darlings are ours and they’re hitting it big.
Maybe the critical spiel is the way to go. The songs on Losing Sleep are pretty much all the same, overflowing with generic romantic sentiments aimed at getting teenage girls to swoon. And to boot, the music video for “She Is Love” is one of the blandest I’ve ever seen, with the band striking handsome poses while playing in a garage and walking down a dirt road. Yawn. Do we really need another Maroon 5?
Musical analysis could work, too. There are pop hooks aplenty on Losing Sleep. With help from producer John Shanks, who has worked with names like Bon Jovi, Stevie Nicks and Liz Phair, Parachute has honed a myriad of melodies, from the propulsive “All That I Am” and “Word Meets Heartbeat” to the bouncy and soulful “She (For Liz)” and “Under Control.” From beginning to end, Losing Sleep is slick, smooth and ready to slide out of your iPod and get stuck in your head.
I’m not sure which of these directions to choose, so I’ll let you decide for yourself. Enjoy Parachute as a fledgling national act making its first splash. Champion the band as Charlottesville’s next musical hero. Bash it for being just like every other pop-rock band. Or just dig into those catchy hooks and sing along to every word. As for me, I’m going to lie down and try to catch up on some lost sleep.