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Parmalee

27861 – 2017 (Stoney Creek)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Parmalee

We're in the dog days of summer and Parmalee is ready to party. They began work on "27861" (the North Carolina zip code they all lived in and which each band member has tattooed on him somewhere) with about 35 songs that were eventually pared down to the 12 that make up the final track list. They serve up a dozen tales primarily of sandy white beaches, mimosas and a whole lot of lighthearted summertime vibe. The album sets the tone early with the one two punch of a Jake Owen/Kenny Chesney beach vibe with a "Sunday Morning" and "American Nights;" toe tapping, radio ready numbers. But the album shifts gears midway with the vapid "Mimosas" where the drink is mentioned 11 times and extended with "Ma-ma- ma-Mimosas" to fill in the extended verses.

"Hotdamalama" extols the crude attributes of a hot Southern girl with as much lack of subtlety as Trace Adkins's "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk." Some redemption is found in the piano ballads "Savannah" (about a lost love and the closer "Roots."(reflections on the singer's origins) They feel like an attempt to balance out the overall party theme. Atmospherically, the album has a glossy, contemporary feel. There's not a hint of traditional in the collection; nary an acoustic number nor pedal steel nor fiddle in the bunch, and on "Back in the Game," there is obvious use of synth and programming, That said, the electric riffs are very catchy, especially the ones that kick start some of the better party anthems like "Barrel Of A Shot Glass."

Guitarist Matt Thomas said of the project, "It is definitely progressive from where we were with (2013's) "Feels Like Carolina." "It's like verse two of that." That release spawned 3 Top 10 singles. "27861" feels like it's attempting to accomplish the very same goal, albeit in a less organic and more formulaic fashion.