There’s a large focus among musicians on creating a fantastic debut single. It makes sense – everyone wants their first offering to be the best representation of who they are as artists. However, there isn’t nearly as much attention given to sophomore singles, but they serve a vital function. If the first song introduces the artist to the world, the second song shows the world what the artist is capable of creating. I found this to be the case with French funk band Who Parked The Car, and their spectacular sophomore single “Other Side”.
The band’s first track, “Candle Dance”, was an upbeat and energetic disco cut. However, “Other Side” puts forth a decidedly funkier, jazz-inflected electronic fusion. The first synth arpeggios evoke atmospheres of the late 1990s scene, with psychedelic groups like Boards of Canada creating swirling compositions. Shortly after, though, the track makes a sudden left turn with a groove switch that pushes the beat back as far as possible. Slowly but surely, the band begins to layer drums, bass, and guitars on top of the ever present synthesizers. Ends of phrases are dusted with laid-back fills that contribute to a nonchalant atmosphere. Despite the yelp-like nature of the vocal line, there is an unexplainable, collected coolness to the delivery. Subtle strings fade in and out of the background, and the horn entrance is smooth and supple.
On the note of horns, the lyrics repeatedly yearn to “play the saxophone,” a plea that is granted about two minutes into the song. The solo is not virtuosic by traditional measures, but it perfectly fits the song’s niche. Weaving in and out of tasteful dissonances, the horn player draws the listener into the harmonic surprises and delivers resolutions at the perfect time. Overall, the band keeps a coherent groove that rocks and sways in-and-out of complex harmonies and downtempo funk. With “Other Side”, Who Parked The Car has shown a fuller sense of their capabilities as a group. Listeners can only hope that they stretch and pull their stylistic abilities as much as their harmonies on their debut record.
Who Parked The Car’s debut record, “Mad Weather, Good Friends” will be released in April 2022. Stream “Other Side” now on Soundcloud.