Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Album review: Feels Like Carolina by Parmalee

I don't think I can properly express how excited I am to be reviewing this. I'm been wanting this album for a while now and it's finally here. I'll be getting to the review shortly, but I wanted to take a second to announce that I'll be doing a giveaway over the next few weeks. I haven't done one in a while and it's safe to say that this'll be the biggest one I've ever done. I bring it up here because Feels Like Carolina is going to be one of the albums included. More details to come sometime over the next few days.

So. Feels Like Carolina. Right off the bat I give Parmalee credit for doing the bulk of the writing on the album and for cutting and/or writing songs with lesser known songwriters. I have absolutely nothing against all the popular songwriters out there, but it's great to see acts who are willing to give other people a shot. There's so many fantastic songwriters out there so I love seeing writers I've never heard of get cuts. The result is a collection of songs that take some familiar country themes and tweaks them. Not so much that they're not still familiar, but enough to make you see them in a different way.

Continuing with this idea, let's talk melodies and how great it is when people care about them. There's so many songs out there that sound exactly like other songs and it's one of my musical pet peeves. Another? When you know what the next line is going to do or be before it happens. I like when songs take me by surprise either lyrically or musically and the songs on this album do both.

Okay, Parmalee's doing good so far. Checking off some of the things I want in an album and here's another one: flow. As in, this album flows nicely from one song to the next. Another item to check off? Energy. As in, it can be found throughout. A lot of the reviews have been focusing primarily on the vocals. But I want to focus on something else first: Scott Thomas. You know, that dude on drums that no one ever seems to talk about? Sure, people talk about their incredible backstory and we praise them for never giving up and for not letting adversity stop them. As we should. But can we take a moment to appreciate Scott's skills as a drummer? So much of the energy comes from the drums and percussion. That's the heartbeat. It matters. And it's so present on this album. So let's give the drummer a bit of love, shall we? He's more than his backstory.

Now the vocals. Solid harmonies that never overpower the lead vocal? Check. In the same vein, harmonies that help showcase both the lead vocal and the lyrics? Check check. A lead singer who knows the proper way to deliver a lyric? Check. Staying on that path, a lead singer who makes you believe what he's singing? Check! People are focusing on Matt's vocals for a reason. His voice is a great mixture of warmth, grit and affability. Not to mention that I believe every word he sings.

So do I like this album? Eh, it's okay.

No, I don't actually like this album - I love this album! It's such a solid album and one that is worth every penny.

Let's take a peek at each song individually.