Album Review: Parmalee’s ‘27861’
With their latest album, 27861, Parmalee has a refreshed perspective and sound like they’re ready to take on the modern world of country music. Though the 12-track album is filled with entertaining party songs, it’s clear that the group is moving in a new direction that allows them to be modern while staying true to their roots.
The album comes in hot with its lead single “Sunday Morning,” kicking things off with a drum beat that can’t help but draw you in. Lead singer Matt Thomas’s voice is as strong as ever, vocally delivering on the perfect song to bop your head along to. “American Nights” is a natural follow-up to “Sunday Morning,” embodying a bit of a Jake Owen vibe with its beachy lyrics that find the southern-born group dipping their “Carolina toes on a California coast” in a song that has just the right amount of cheerfulness to it.
“Heartbreaker” may just be catchiest song on the album, opening with moody guitar chords that offer a sense of interest before diving into a number that’s got a host of fun energy with its swanky beat that makes you want to groove along to it. You’ll easily find yourself singing along as Thomas croons “She’s a little heartbreaker but that little heartbreaker is mine,” making it a standout on the project. “Mimosas” continues on this feel-good trend, making for a perfect care-free, summertime song, who’s laid-back beat will have you craving a bubbly beverage on a white sandy beach. And while a title like “Hotdamalama,” will have you instantly intrigued; it’s the song’s fiery chorus and call-back lyrics that make for one of the more rowdy tracks on the album.
But the group takes it down a notch to a more humble place with the haunting “Savannah,” which finds Thomas’s voice shining as he sings what is arguable the most heartfelt song in what is mostly a collection of party-ready songs. “Savannah” is a welcomed ballad, painting vivid imagery of a man reminiscing of his lost love in the beautiful Georgia town, injecting a sense of heart into the project, having a similar effect as their breakthrough hit “Carolina.”
Matching the emotion of “Savannah,” 27861 couldn’t come to a more fitting close than with “Roots.” Sounding different from every other cut on the record, Thomas’s vocal talent is nothing short of beautiful as he sings “I can’t outrun these roots, even if I wanted to, because they run too strong, run too deep, cuttin’ right through the heart of me.” The song serves as a powerful way to end to close out an already substantial project, helping to balance out the party songs with a dose of poignancy and pretty melody to match.
27861 proves how hard the four-member band has been working since their last release, 2013’s Feels Like Carolina, and you can tell how much fun they’re having with every track. Though the album sounds like it belongs in the contemporary country landscape, it also stands out enough to make you stop and listen, trademarked with Thomas’s convincing voice and the group’s promising sound. While they’ve always been a quality act, Parmalee show they belong in the current country format with 27861, creating a project that is perfect for the now, but is sure to keep their fans listening for years to come.