Bristol-based garage rock band PARKAS – which allegedly stands for Please, Answer, Road, Kill, Alan – offer up an infectious groove and distortion-heavy fusion of deliciously dirty rock meets indie.
The quartet formed when Matt (vocals) and Joe (drums) met at Bath Spa University, where they wrote and recorded their debut EP We Are The Gods and began playing gigs. Their original guitarist and bassist to pursue other projects after graduating so they brought Chris (guitar) and Daragh (bass) on board.
On the sound they’ve honed, they tell us: “Our sound ranges from dirty guitar tones and punchy drums, to more groove-based tracks. Lyrically our sound ranges from the observational to the introspective.”
Our latest taste of this is new track Pos’tive which, as the name suggests, tries to give us all a little spark of optimism. It opens up with light vocals and guitars that end in the line “And I stay pos’tive, You stay pos’tive.” The vocals and guitars pick up pace before bursting into big cries of “P O S T I V E Yeah” then drop into another laid-back pushed along by a funky little bassline.
Stabs of guitar come in to support more intense vocals that feed into another chorus supported by lively guitars. It returns to laid-back vocals and light guitars that give way to a final blast of the big energetic chorus.
On the track, the band told us: “The reception so far has been incredible. For this track we really put time and thought into the promotion process, creating a character, Skip, and creating his world around the track. We’ve not done anything like this before and its been great to see people interacting with the idea. It’s definitely something we aim to continue in the future. The people who listen to our music are very important to us, so we believe it’s important to give them the very best of each step of the release process, and to always keep it interesting.
“People should expect a release from the current situation that has dominated most of our lives over the past year and a half. We wanted to write a song that allowed people to look forward, and be Pos’tive.” Check it out here:
Pos’tive is PARKAS’ first single since a series of singles between the debut EP and last year’s raucous single Friday Night. It opens up with stabs of guitar intersecting a little bassline then lively guitars and drums. Engaging vocals “I’ve been waiting all day and waiting all night, To stand in line with the people who are just like me” take over. Then more singalong vocals “And I try not to lose myself,But I wanna be somebody else, And tomorrow there’ll be stories to tell, Put on your party dress because its fuh-fuh-fuh Friday night” give way to cool stabs of guitar.
A more vicious verse feeds into a catchy chorus that quickly drops into vocals “And all the girls look beautiful, All the boys in uniform, All the bartenders look so sad, Look at the life you could’ve had now” over rhythmic drums. That tees up a heavy conclusion that begins with stabbing guitars and screamed vocals. Check it out in the slightly disturbing video below:
The band has a great back catalogue of catchy, infectious indie rock goodness. The excellent Penny Drop offers an intriguing, more laid-back offering of the PARKAS taste along with the more raucous We Are The Gods. But a personal favourite is the lively Catch Me Out, which opens up with a cool riff before engaging vocals take over and are rejoined by the opening riff. That flows into more laid-back vocals before a big catchy chorus. Check it out in the video below:
PARKAS draw influence from a wide range of genres and musical styles. Matt is largely inspired by 90s Britpop, Joe is more into hip-hop, while Daragh takes influence from indie and Chris draws influence from jazz and blues.
As they explain: “This means that our writing process is always interesting, and the end product will always be something that you haven’t heard before. The marrying of these ideas comes very naturally to us, as we let each member do their own thing on each song.”
And on what inspires them to write music, they add: “We write music because we love it, most of our songs have started off by Matt bringing the initial idea to a practise room. We then play through it and start to write our own parts and build on the idea, some songs take a couple of hours, some a couple of months.
“In terms of the lyrical content, it is almost always very personal. We believe that honesty is so important, in all aspects of writing music. The most honest lyrics are usually the ones that people connect with the most. Themes can be anything from mental health, to nights out, to relationships. It’s just anything we feel we need to talk about, that has purpose.”
2021 has been a year of rescheduling plans but PARKAS just finished up a UK tour alongside bands like Beefywink, Beyond Beta, The Waterfalls and Marlow, who they tell us are great bands to check out. But you can still catch them at Mr Wolfs in Bristol on 23 September, and tickets are here. They have one more track lined up for release this month, hope to release another track and a video of a live session recorded at Studio 13 in London before the end of the year, with plenty more new music to look forward to next year.