Starting with the album title poem, UK-based R+B, Neo Soul artist Arlo Parks, sets the tone for the reaching love and emotional intimacy that her first offering “Collapsed In Sunbeams” oozes. All over this album you find glossy, warm natural instrumentals that feel like a sun-drenched room regardless of the topic. You can feel the band behind her as she sings lyrics that lean towards poetic license. Like many of these songs like “Hope”, and “Too good” could be read acapella and stand on their own as poems.
The positive sound of this album is “much needed warmth in the winter” even as she talks about breakups, failed relationships, and camaraderie in the pain of emotional vulnerability. So many of her songs on this album are inspired by actual poems that connect you to the depth, thought and emotional essence she felt reading them. Especially the heart-wrenching story that was spun on “Caroline” of a relationship gone sour.
It’s a 1,2 of bright instrumentals with sad lyrics that hit melodically and sad, like on “Hurt” when the pre-chorus saying “wouldn’t it be lovely to feel something for once.” It brings a low that immediately comes back to a high of the chorus and percussion that these jumps of tone are par for the course in this album and she weaves it expertly.
If it’s not weaving the good and the bad, it’s leaning towards one or the other heavily. “Hope being the reach to connect to those in their darkest moments, and “For Violet” being the feeling of being helpless, with a few comforting words. With the paired poems inspiring each song, together can bring tears of understanding to anyone whose been in those places.
With every track connected to a short poem, it feels like a pop-up book with images and another feeling of deeper connection to the songs, the characters, their words and their worlds, and the album as a whole. There are many tear-filled moments on this album that feel like an exorcism of bad feelings. This is a potent album. Yeah, that’s how’ll I describe it.