Parachute Wide Awake on LP
With a sound that's impassioned but sunny, fresh but timelessly organic, Wide Awake centers on songs both gracefully arranged and brimming with the boundless energy of Parachute's live show. Newly pared down from a five-piece to a trio, the Charlottesville, Virginia-bred band forged that sound in part by shaking off all creative inhibitions. "We felt like we had no limitations to chase this sound that the three of us have wanted to build for so long," says Anderson. "It was as if we were woken up from some sort of slumber, revitalized and rejuvenated with this new awareness of who we are as a band."
Reuniting with John Fields (the producer behind 2011's The Way It Was and their 2009 debut Losing Sleep), Parachute were also guided by the purest of instincts in the studio. Though that commitment to intuition is beyond palpable on Wide Awake, the album was also born from two and a half years of dedicated writing and exploration. "I don't know if I've ever written more for an album, or worked so much on any specific song." says Anderson, who came up with nearly 100 songs during that time. "It was just very important to me that we got each song exactly to where it needed to be."
With every track on Wide Awake, Parachute matches their sublime melodies with a refined sense of songcraft. Showing a complex sensitivity shaped in part by lifelong love of artists like Paul Simon and Billy Joel, Anderson also infuses the album with both carefree warmth and emotional depth. The album's epic opener "Without You," for instance, captures what Anderson calls "the feeling of meeting someone and knowing that it's going to happen," and harnesses that lovestruck feeling with the help of gorgeous gospel harmonies and soulful horns. The gently devastating "Jennie" wraps its cascading rhythms and wistful vocals around a story of broken opportunity and love lost.
Shifting from joy to heartache and back again Wide Awake, offers everything from the stomping, fired-up swagger of "Crave" to the sorrowful piano ballad "What Breaks My Heart" to the hushed acoustic reverie of "When You Move." And in certain moments Parachute brilliantly embodies both bright and dark, such as on the swinging and summery anthem "Lonely with Me" (as in: "Baby if you're gonna be lonely/Be lonely with me") and on the moody but pop-infused "Love Me Anyway," an ode to "knowing you're inevitably going to mess up, but having somebody who's willing to forgive you and move on," according to Anderson.
While Parachute's indelibly melodic sound packs more than enough power to electrify an arena-filled crowd, each song on Wide Awake comes from much more intimate origins. "Most of my writing process for this album was very solitary." says Anderson. "I've written with other people in the past, but it was fun to go back to the way I used to write when I was a teenager." And when combined with Parachute's renewed passion as a band, that approach ultimately allowed for an honesty and heartfeltness that makes Wide Awake their most thrilling authentic album yet.