Milan-based alt-rock/dark-pop breakthrough duo Atwood never took a break since their entrance into the scene in 2018. Debut EP At Odds was just the start of a transparent and honest revelation of raw emotion supported by appealing guitar/drum parts, electronic influences, and addictive singalong choruses.
Parallel Lines is Atwood’s latest EP. It displays a considerable step forward for the band. More vulnerability, relatable traumatic experiences, glimmers of hope, and reminders of strength mix in with next-level instrumental construction and catchy pop-rock fusion. The band put their heart into the record, and their potential to conquer new grounds shines bright.
I highly respect artists that stray away from the familiar and try to grow with each new release. Atwood are one such band – a consistent introduction of even deeper themes, refined instrumentals, and an even bigger and better video production follows each new single.
The start of it all. Check my introduction to the band and our first interview here.
The duo was never afraid of topics that are usually hard to talk about. Strain, distress, pressure, and longing to free yourself from internal and external constraints stay at the core of At Odds. Those themes still appear in the new EP. However, things get gradually elevated, and new issues get the deserved spotlight.
Parallel Lines is about the coexistence of hopes and frustrations, as they come and go in ever aspect of our lives. It’s looking for light in the darkness, it’s running away from bad spots and bad habits.Atwood via Facebook
Read my interview with Alice preceding the release of the EP here
Parallel Lines also features the band’s mastered ability to create total earworms of choruses and catch listeners off-guard with massive instrumental build-ups and breakdowns.
The new stage of Atwood is a treat to the ear and a rightful provocation of the heart. The heavy emotional substance contrasts the lively instrumentals, but the after-taste is always either bittersweet nectar of reality or an empowering message of support and understanding. Both things we desperately need nowadays.
Parallel Lines opens with a fitting intro. So Bad has a slow and steady start leading to an unexpected energy eruption. The solid rock foundation gets elevated by electronic influences to create a hypnotizing melody surrounding the track.
The pain and struggle of getting over a toxic, unhealthy relationship blends with the desire to liberate yourself and experience true love. Alice takes us through the initial devastation of broken trust, the long-lasting heartache, and the eventual rebuilding you have to pull yourself towards.
So bad celebrates heartaches and broken trust. It tells the story of way too many “what ifs”, too many regrets and unspoken words. It might feel overwhelming and unbearable at first, but you’ll pull this through. Next time, think twice. Don’t let your trust blind you. But don’t worry – you will make it out alive.Atwood via YouTube
It is up to the listener to decide what the major takeaway is for them, but the realization you deserve happiness, freedom and breaking the chains of toxicity certainly hit hard here.
There’s cuts on my hands
How did I get them?
You were my golden loaded gun
I should have known you were danger
Better Now is the hidden gem Atwood kept a secret for a reason. It is a strangely powerful track and a welcomed surprise that came with the release of the EP.
The song continues the thread of So Bad by exploring the feelings of confusion, hurt, and longing to make things better. It features elements of broken trust and heartache presented by a beautiful sound environment of gentle guitars with steady but powerful build-up.
The desire to get better and the empowerment to achieve it still surface to send a feeling of reassurance and hope.
Out Of The Blue does the classic Atwood thing. It uses an instrumental construction merging sadness and melancholy with hope and triumph. The end-result is a feeling of bittersweet reassurance that hardship is a necessary part of life, but the strength to overcome it is always within us.
Out Of The Blue tells the beauty of waiting for something good to come – and the wait becomes a bubble we lock ourselves in, oblivious of the passage of time. Out of sight, out of mind has never been more unrealistic.Atwood via YouTube
The song perfectly fits the overall tone of Parallel Lines. It includes another aspect of a past relationship and the turbulent after-effects of overcoming the inevitable separation. Focus on the positive – a hopeful future we should look forward to, remains blended with the dangers of isolation and waste of precious moments.
Out of sight out of mind
It’s such a big lie, buying time
But it flies no I’m not tired
Dreaming I can come and knock on your door
But wake up all alone when I’m so close
To say your name out loud but it feels like it’s out of bounds
I guess I’ll just lie hеre
And wait for you to hunt me down
The title track merges the unsettling feelings with hope and strength again. It is a perfect unity of heavy/traumatic with empowering/hopeful presented in a highly emotional, transparent, and open way.
Parallel Lines is for you, if you’ve ever fought against your own body, and if you’ve ever felt like you just don’t belong with it. Oftentimes, mind and body walk at two different paces, they fight an endless fight without ever finding peace. There is no use talking it through – but even when every single bone hurts, and when every hope seems to be lost, you can try and find the strength to say goodbye, to find balance. It may not work, but it will be worth a shot.Atwood via YouTube
Parallel Lines tells a real-life story of fighting your own body and mind. What penetrates stronger than anything in the song is the message of hope. Not giving up on your fight and recognizing your strength is what Alice consistently hints about during the exploration of various hurtful experiences (and the incredibly well-directed and shot video).
Ghost is one of the first singles of the era. It represents a transition between the melodically heavier At Odds and the pop-rock nature of Parallel Lines.
The start of the track is as explosive as can be. It is an energetic and powerful piece that would give you an inextinguishable boost and make you look back at your life at the same time.
Ghost mourns lost loved ones, lost dreams, lost hopes. It tells the feeling of strain and helplessness that comes with the sudden realization that some things are gone and will probably never be back. It is a reminder that the constant and relentless process of looking for those things, although painfully frustrating, is the only thing that’s left to do, even in the darkest of times.Atwood via YouTube
Thematically, Ghost is dark and unsettling. It reveals the confusion after a heartbreaking loss. A powerful display of raw emotions and contrast between dark lyricism and explosive energy in the instrumentals make it a track that instantly enters your Atwood favourites.
Chills down my spine, fingers can barely move
Everything’s fine, they say, everything’s doomed
Looking around, always looking for you
Oh, I need your hands to get me out of here soon
Dance In The Sun is the first piece of the Parallel Lines era and a strong closing track of the EP.
Dance In The Sun is an invitation to open our eyes to the many colours that make our reality. There’s a whole world of meanings that needs to be taken into account – reality isn’t black and white, much like opinions and points of view.Atwood via YouTube
The powerful song explores a period of shutting off and refusing to see the many good things coming after a tough time. It is inspirational and empowering, a strong reminder to remain open and hopeful for the future, seek happiness, and know it is waiting for us around the corner.
Would there be a better way to end the Parallel Lines journey?
Oh, hollow-eyed reality ain’t black and white
Ashes dance in the sun
Led by the dream of a disillusioned mind
Hopefully you’ll find
You’re not colorblind
You’re not confined
When making music with a foundation of genuine heartfelt emotions and a desire for progress and evolution, success is only a matter of time. Atwood continue expanding their boundaries and prove that they have what it takes to dominate the scene.
Parallel Lines unites their recognizable core with new inspirations and an enhanced sense of video production, giving further context for the powerful songs. Credit to video director Dalilù is due here – her vision and skills make up for the strong elevation of Atwood’s singles.
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