Label: Concord Vanguard
On 2013’s Overnight Parachute found themselves in uncharted territory. Aiming to change their style, they experimented with a dance pop/rock hybrid that had them sounding, somewhat uncomfortably, like OneRepublic’s little brother. For a follow-up, Parachute pull an about face and re-embrace their roots in endearingly melodic, piano-based pop rock. It’s hard to argue with their decision as Wide Awake boasts some of the group’s most vibrant and infectious tunes to date. “What Side of Love Are You On” and the gospel-touched “New Orleans” are blue-eyed soul gems dripping in passion and wicked hooks. Even better is “Jennie,” a hypnotically shimmering love ballad that harkens back to the golden age of R&B-infused adult contemporary, replete with softly-focused saxophone. The expertly crafted Wide Awake demonstrates that it’s sometimes best to stick one’s strengths.