Making Rainbows Out of Something Painful: Arlo Parks Emerges with Debut Album ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Collapsed in Sunbeams is the debut full-length album from Arlo Parks, a 20-year-old singer/songwriter from England that leaves it all on the table, so to speak, in the name of “making rainbows out of something painful,” to quote the album-closing “Portra 400.”

Parks’s profile has risen exponentially over the past year or so, with the single “Black Dog” picking up steam on indie radio around the middle of 2020 and ramping up anticipation for the record, her first full-length released on Friday via Transgressive Records.

There’s a raw, evocative element to Collapsed in Sunbeams that, paired with its top-shelf songwriting and lush production, makes it a must-listen for anybody interested in cutting-edge new music of the most affecting kind. Undercurrents of heartbreak and uplift are at work throughout, and these disparate themes give the songs a singular resonance.

The aforementioned “Black Dog” tackles depression with lyrics that showcase Parks’s gift for wordplay:

I take a jump off the fire escape
To make the black dog go away
At least I know that you are trying
But that’s what makes it terrifying

Said Parks of the song to Apple Music:

“I remember writing that song and feeling so confused and helpless trying to understand depression and what she was going through, and using music as a form of personal catharsis to work through things that felt impossible to work through.”

Collapsed in Sunbeams is the result of a collaboration between Parks and songwriter Gianluca Buccellati, who co-wrote and produced the record. Musically, the album blurs the lines between various genres, including “bedroom pop,” soul, R&B, and alt/indie. It’s a captivating listen from start to finish, Parks conveying messages of hope and community as she tackles her own personal demons.

Click here to pick up Collapsed in Sunbeams on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Collapsed in Sunbeams on LP from our Rock Cellar Store

Take the wistful “we’re all in this together” concept behind “Hope”:

You’re not alone like you think you are
You’re not alone like you think you are
We all have scars, I know it’s hard

There is no doubt whatsoever that Collapsed in Sunbeams will make Arlo Parks a star. It’s fresh, invigorating and deep, and the musical exploration she and Buccellati embark on throughout the record hits a target that might otherwise have seemed unattainable.

This is a special record from a gifted talent.

My album is a series of vignettes and intimate portraits surrounding my adolescence and the people that shaped it,” Parks said of the album and its inspiration. “It is rooted in storytelling and nostalgia – I want it to feel both universal and hyper specific.

It succeeds on both levels, and then some.

Listen to Collapsed in Sunbeams below, via Spotify.

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