There’s just something comforting when you hear pop music from the ’60s. A type of warm, Californian vibe fills you to the brim with nostalgia, even if you were born in 1987. Portland-based The Parson Red Heads are all about that sunshine sound. There should be a better term for it: Wonders Years Wave, Woodstockcore, or maybe post-drugs. Their latest release, Orb Weaver, is a tribute to your dad’s favorite bands like Love, Buffalo Springfield, The Mamas & the Papas and Badfinger (Breaking Bad fans rejoice).
The album starts off with “Arcish T,” a 19-second instrumental piece meant to set the tone of the album: a warm summer day, spinning endlessly in a flowery field or something like that. The second track, “To The Sky,” is two parts The Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn” and one part hemp bracelet. The eternal optimism bleeding through the playful bassline, lush harmonies and just overall cheeriness, for some reason, doesn’t come off cheesy or forced. You can tell that these here Red Heads are having a genuinely good time.
Songs like “Borrow Your Car” and “I Never Sleep” are easily-enjoyable power-pop dishes of your favorite fruit-filled oatmeal. These tracks just taste great going down and leave you as warm and creamy as ever. If that makes any sense, then you’re fooling yourself or you’re a baby boomer.
“Beginning” features Evan and Brette Marie Way’s harmonizing. This could easily be the morning theme song to an hour-long dramedy about a Nebraskan commune. Picture dirty-footed children running around a cabin, while teens go off to resent their moccasin-footed parents.
As easy as it is to make “hippie” jokes about this band, they really do throw together a great album. Their first grasp of familiar and original melodies take you to a place you either wished you called home or used to. Either way, The Parson Red Heads know you better than your friends, because they sound like your best friends.