Review by Carmen Mueller
If you haven’t heard of PARKER just do yourself a favor and look them up right now. Typically you save this bit for the end of a review but seriously, look them up right now. Going into their Never Growing Old EP, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I had not heard of them until recently, but I am super pleasantly surprised with what I got. This band, composed of brothers Devin (vocals and guitar) and Patrick Parker (vocals and bassist) and Trevor Phelps (drums), just dropped their record on July 4th 2018. Despite it being recently released, they have already been featured on 101WKQX and for good reason.
I think one of the strongest facets of this band’s music is the style of their music and their great storytelling. One of my favorite parts about music is if I can visualize a movie in my head of the story that is being told. Their first track “Never Growing Old” puts me right in the middle of the city of Chicago; kids are sitting on rooftops drinking, kids are playing basketball, there is life in this song. It makes me remember what it was like to have been able to grow up here. As a Chicago native, this song brings me back to a place where I feel at home and nostalgic over all the great moments I have had here. It’s a feel good song that is a reminder of the sweet comfort that can be one’s hometown and how our memories will always be a part of us. The vibe of this song also brings me back to classic Blink 182 with its strong guitars while I get a Boys Like Girls’ vocal style.
“Forever You and Me” is a powerful rock song that focuses on a loving relationship and I appreciate just how big it feels. The choir in the bridge and drumming from Phelps really stand out in this track; both add a really powerful punch to the song that makes it feel like it belongs in a blockbuster movie. Once again, I can view a story when I listen to this song; a love that rivals the sunsets on the West coast and the oceans waves crushing on the East coast. There’s desperation in the vocals which only makes me think of how much people want to be in love. Even if the relationship does not last forever, the love of the person can.
If there was ever an award for the song with the most contradicting lyrics, this one would take the cake. “My Prayer” is riddled with the feeling of confusion, as if a love is so confusing that absolutely nothing seems to make any sense and therefore, is filled with contradiction and uncertainty. The screaming vocals that lead into the choruses sound great as do the guitars that really propel this song. This track is one that you would want to play in the car and just drive and head bang along to. At least that’s what I want to do.
The last track on the EP is the two-parter “On My Own/The Day I Died”. The instrumentation for “On My Own” immediately demanded my attention. Their style is so versatile and from this song I could hear, not only instances of Blink-182 but also an AC/DC vibe especially in the vocals. It features a lot of interesting effects like a voicemail and the revving of a motorcycle, which screams traditional punk rock vibes. But the song takes a full turn on “The Day I Died”; the booming drums and sharp guitars are traded in for a stripped down acoustic style. To me, this is the rawest track on the whole EP. It opens with a mic pop and soft guitar that is followed with pretty haunting lyrics about loneliness, emptiness, and lost loved ones. And because of these obstacles, it can be hard to get back on your feet and to appreciate life. It’s a really sweet and relatable song that was surprising to hear especially since it follows one of the heavier tracks on the EP.
Overall, I think that PARKER’S Never Growing Old EP is a really strong record to come out of the gate with. The storytelling aspects are solid and the unique integration of a ton of different music styles made me find this album really interesting. I can often find that some songs or artists feel like something that I’ve already heard before, but PARKER have a really genuine sound and are not afraid to switch up their styles. I heard instances of Blink-182, Boys Like Girls, AC/DC, and then an almost country/folk emphasis on their last track. The title feels exceptionally fitting; this EP reminds me of old school punk rock influences with modern vocals and production while lyrically taking me back to playing volleyball in my front yard as a ten-year-old. This is a project that will get easy rotation in my playlist so check them out. All their details will be included, so there’s no reason to not look into them.
After you finish their EP, mark your calendars for August 10, because the band will be playing at Royal Skate & Apparel at 7PM, in Lansing, IL.