Label: Transgressive Records
Released: 29th January 2021
“I see myself stretched out; open to beauty however brief or violent,” begins a languorous Arlo Parks on the eponymous song of her debut album ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’. There’s something incredibly endearing about her simplistic acceptance of all that the world has to offer, regardless of its form, that makes Arlo’s music universally relatable and inherently cinematic in its wistful nature.
With each song shrouded in a mist of melancholia and coming-of-age confessions, Arlo’s breathy vocals soften, and make palatable, the often harsh and uncomfortable realities of life. The use of metaphors and images of nature, nourishment, filmography and friendship offer vignettes of reality that is so near-perfect, you can almost taste it.
From feel-good ’90s R&B which is used to disguise the reality of what it’s like being with someone who is in denial about how they feel about you (‘Too Good’) to the hazy neo-soul in ‘Bluish’ and a multitude lo-fi indie bangers that dive into the friction and dark side of companionship, and with a healthy dose of spoken word littered throughout, ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’ is testament to Arlo’s mission statement of not pigeonholing herself so early on in her career.
As a debut, it is a sublime body of work from the kind of artist who is meticulous in all aspects of her craft. To put it simply — in the artist’s own words — she is “making rainbows out of something painful”, and we’re just so lucky enough that everything she touches turns to gold.