Arlo Parks Sydney Review: Enmore Theater Show

Enmore Theater, August 13

British singer-songwriter Anaïs Marinho, 22, releases music under the name Arlo Parks, and if that sounds like an idyllic spot, perfect for summer picnics with friends, then her music is the smooth, upbeat background soundtrack, content play second fiddle in conversation.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that: music has always been about adapting to different situations – banging techno when you want to annoy the neighbors, jazz when you want to appear sophisticated, metal when you want to punch a hole in the wall – and creating a relaxed atmosphere for the low-key times certainly has its place.

Arlo Parks are performing at this year's Darwin Festival.

Arlo Parks are performing at this year’s Darwin Festival.Recognition:Helen Orr

The problem is when a musical mood is rigidly maintained to the point of inertia, which is the case for much of this show: the sea of ​​heads may sway calmly to one breezy song after another, but that means big waves aren’t made , no boats are rocked.

The music itself, played competently enough by a backing band of four, is a little too close to 80’s easy listening, so smooth and harmless that it even includes a fairly tame bass solo cola elicits a disproportionate amount of cheers from the crowd because it sounds like “rock out” compared to everything else.

Parks himself comes across as absolutely adorable, relaxed and smiling and friendly, with a soothing, beautiful voice that calms nerves rather than fraying them. But paired with music that’s too balanced for its own good, the results tend to be too prosaic rather than exciting.


It is significant that the only moment of the night that comes close to giving a goosebumps or two comes during the night Angel’s song With the band mostly in the background, Parks sings with just a guitar accompaniment, proving that her voice is far more powerful and impactful without the funk-lite backing.

However, the vast majority of the hyped crowd seems to be loving every moment, and that’s on punchier, poppier songs like Caroline, pain and Too goodit’s a little easier to get into the passion and see Parks scoop the Mercury Prize for her debut album last year, Collapsed in sunbeams.

Even with just an incrementally greater amount of power and energy than the last song before Quietly does a good job of getting the crowd jumping, but sums up tonight even better with its title: A gig as gentle as a summer breeze, to enjoy in the moment but largely forget after it’s over. Arlo Parks Sydney Review: Enmore Theater Show

Jaclyn Diaz

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