Pop-Rock Outfit Parks' Debut Album Is Ready For Radio
You probably didn’t think you needed anymore jangly indie-pop gems destined for radio replay, but no offense, we’re pretty sure you’re wrong. This is where Parks come in — the Boston-based indie outfit just dropped their self-titled debut album last month and it’s chockful of the kinds of knee-slapping, head-bopping singalongs you need in your life, because though they’ve got the elements of the radio-recipe, they’re still uniquely Parks.
Hear lead vocalist Brian E. King tell us a little about the album below:
Parks’ debut album kicks off with “Fools,” a high-energy track opting for a quick hook and thumping rhythms. It’s a smart choice for an opener because it highlights every element we’ll come to know defines the band over the rest of the album, from strong vocals to heavy percussion-based arrangements and a general flurry of color tinging each track. Following the record’s opener is “I Don’t Want To Know You,” an edgy alt-rock anthem featuring searing guitar lines, layered tiers of percussion ranging from quick slaps to subtle shimmers, and dreamy vocals howling above the outlaw-inspired arrangement. On “Sweater Weather,” we’re treated to a rollicking pop-rock romp that will surely embed itself in every nook and cranny of your ear until you wake up each morning humming that sugary hook. It’s got the addition of harmonies, too, so things are picking up real quick. There’s seemingly no end in sight for the track, but at the same time, it’s fleeting — it’s just go, go, go here, so it’s gone too soon, the buzz and pep resounding long after its jangling singalong has ended.
“All We Have” follows, more of the fun and funk we’re slowly learning encapsulates Parks, but experimenting with thick thumps of percussion and almost jazz-ified interludes sprinkling the pulsing, lighthearted anthem. On “Escaping Together,” we get the sentimental side of Parks. The introduction of strings — that wailing vibrato — offers new depth to buzzing strums and lolling vocals, a drowsy foray into bittersweet psych-pop ballads. The halfway point of Parks finds “Headache,” a crazed pause in a pop-centric record, just one and a half minutes of high-speed rock percussion and frenzied delivery with high-powered treatment.
The second half of Parks has “3x5” pumping along slowly but steadily with great urgency. It’s an addictive dance track laden with layers of neon beats and quirky bass lines, all working at top energy before the vocals dip out to make room for the instrumental the band builds, two whole minutes of pulsing drums, the tender bloom of keys, brief string swells, and the gritty wail of bass and guitar squaring off. It’s a dazzling soundscape capturing a sunny sort of solace — there’s so much quiet joy here that gets louder and louder as the band breaks down their own conventions until suddenly we’re lost in sunshine. Following that dynamic standout is “Old Hotel,” led by a confident guitar strum joined quickly by jazzy percussion and tropically-tinged rhythms tripping over each other amid two separate vocal parts, fogged over in the distance. “Prove It” starts with a simple strum, too, but it’s matched right away by a smash of drums and the quick chime of keys. Vocalist Robin Melendez takes the lead here, backed on harmony while the pop-rock arrangement jangles on.
On “Digital Fantasy,” Parks opt for a softer route while still maintaining their alt-rock tendencies. The vocals laze with earnest reflection, dreamily singing “We are chasing impossible dreams,” a statement that doesn’t feel true when we think of this band — big personalities going full throttle. Regardless, the arrangement this time is a sweet comedown with a gentle lull. Parks ends like it began with the hyperactivity of “No, You Don’t,” edged up once again by the alt-rock treatment: less pop (but still sparkling and hook-y, for sure), more rock (robust multi-instrumentation and vocals that oscillate between a coo and a croon). Like bookends, the introduction and conclusion to the album work to strengthen innards that are threatening to burst, so gung-ho are they about their pop-rock duties. That’s the power of Parks, though. They do what they do so well because they love it wholly. You’d be hard-pressed not to let loose in your living room, swinging your hips and skipping your feet to the happy hooks that abound on Parks’ debut album.