Now This Is Fighting

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The Parkas' debut album, Now This Is Fighting, is a charming, pleasant pop affair with some nice hooks and encouraging spirit, but the question of whether the recording will hold up in comparison to the myriad sunny pop bands that have staked out meager plots in the same plucky territory must be asked. After all, if it were easy to write and record a great pop record, there likely wouldn't be so many who fail to get their albums off the shelf before their hard-earned dollars and sweat end up in the cutout bins. Furthermore, the business of making music is only one part quality of the music, with performance, production, and image playing larger and larger parts in the overall aesthetic, especially within the overcrowded boundaries of pop/rock. So, do the Parkas have what it takes to elbow their way in and make a name for themselves among their peers? The answer is yes, provided the band works hard to achieve it. Now This Is Fighting likely isn't brazen enough to accomplish such lofty goals on its own, but it is definitely a solid start for the Huntsville, Ontario, band and should turn enough heads to set the group's momentum at a respectable clip. It unfolds slowly, revealing its subtleties with finesse and a sense of ardor, but the album feels as though the Parkas are holding back a bit. Perhaps this is the cause of the drums and bass being too low in the mix or perhaps it's something more; regardless, it comes across as if the Parkas aren't fully invested. The group can get away with this, however, simply because they write great pop songs. The unabashed forward movement of the opener, "Bus Station Blues," is a perfect example, as the band effectively borrows a page from the "how-to-rock" book of Sloan's Patrick Pentland by exuding the same wit without sacrificing sincerity, while the tender piano, acoustic guitar, and group vocals ballad "Every Light Is Red" places the Parkas in an extremely flattering position of a band successfully following through on a unique arrangement. The Parkas have some way to go before they burst the seams of pop music, but have released an album worthy of scrutiny. Hopefully, Now This Is Fighting marks the first step of a steady climb into the safety of a successful future.

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