Arlo Parks | photo by Megan Matuzak fo WXPN
Arlo Parks is transcendentally cool at NON-COMM
The London singer-songwriter gave the World Cafe Live audience a taste of her sophomore album ‘My Soft Machine.’
- Bruiseless Weightless
- Black Dog
Cool is, perhaps, an insufficient way to truly capture a performance. Be that as it may, you’ll have to indulge me when I tell you Arlo Parks may just be one of the coolest people alive. It isn’t just the music, with its easy post-genre swagger or her band, with well-worn groove, or even Parks herself, sliding across the stage with an elegant confidence and vocal skills to match. It’s the whole damn thing combined, making for something almost transcendently cool. There’s that word again.
If you aren’t familiar with Parks, she is an artist who absolutely burst onto the scene a few years back in large part due to the success of her debut record, 2020’s Collapsed In Sunbeams. Parks’ music finds that sweet spot between bedroom pop and stadium-ready pop, allowing Parks to be vulnerable and commanding in equal measure. Now, she is getting ready to release her much-anticipated second record, My Soft Machine, which comes out later this month via Transgressive Records. We were lucky enough to hear some of those new songs on Thursday night as Parks graced the The Music Hall Stage at World Cafe Life, even ending the set with an exclusive sneak peak at totally unreleased material, one of which, titled “Devotion,” is still bouncing around this writer’s long after the final note. Before that, though, Parks gave a rousing performance of what might well be her best song, the devastating and potent “Black Dog,” which tracks a friend’s depression with naked and gut-wrenching sensitivity, making plain all of her many skills as a writer and performer.
Parks may have found a significant audience after her first album, but if tonight is a sign of things to come, she might just take over the whole world.