Arlo Parks - Collapsed In Sunbeams (Yellow Vinyl)Label: TRANSGRESSIVE
LP, 180g, Ltd, Mustard-Yellow Vinyl
‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’ is the highly anticipated debut from 2020 breakthrough artist, London-based musician and poet Arlo Parks. Speaking about her LP, Arlo says "My album is a series of vignettes and intimate portraits surrounding my adolescence and the people that shaped it. It is rooted in storytelling and nostalgia - I want it to feel both universal and hyper specific." The release includes singles ‘Hurt’ and ‘Black Dog’, both of which were playlisted on triple j and have amassed millions of streams worldwide. On a personal level, Parks struggled with her identity growing up; a self-confessed tom-boy who was super sensitive and "uncool," she says it was like "I'm a black kid who can't dance for shit, listens to emo music and currently has a crush on some girl in my Spanish class." By the time she reached 17, she shaved her head, figured out she was bisexual and produced/wrote an album's worth of material. Growing up in South West London, half Nigerian, a quarter Chadian and a quarter French, Arlo Parks learned to speak French before English. A quiet child, she'd write short stories and create fantasy worlds, later journaling and then obsessing over spoken word poetry, reading American poets such as Ginsberg and Jim Morrison and watching old Chet Baker performances on YouTube. These days she references Nayyirah Waheed, Hanif Abdurraqib and Iain S. Thomas as her favorite modern poets, and it is clear that their works are as influential on her song-writing as any musician. Fela Kuti's ‘Wate’r and Otis Redding's ‘Dock Of The Bay’ sound tracked Arlo Parks' childhood, but it was aged around 13 that she discovered King Krule; an artist who would heavily influence the music she writes today. Later listening to more hip-hop (from Kendrick Lamar, MF Doom and Earl Sweatshirt to the more confessional sounds of Loyle Carner) and rock (Jimi Hendrix, Shilpa Ray and David Bowie), as well as the subdued, pained sounds of Keaton Henson, Sufjan Stevens and Julien Baker, Parks explains, "I would write stories so detailed you could taste them, while maintaining the energy and life of the hip-hop I loved." There's a visual, almost cinematic quality to her writing too, which is born from her love of horror films, streetwear and abstract art.