I cheated. That’s right, I cheated and I am owning up to it. Under normal circumstances I would not have done it. Under normal circumstances I would have listened to the album before reading the lyrics or the press release. Although, I have, on occasion, read the press release and lyrics as I listened to the album. Yet, I did not do either for this CD. For this I will present my case: I respect and admire Mike Park. Hell, I want to BE Mike Park. The fabulous records he has helped distribute amongst us, the unique and value-bound label he runs, and the noble causes he has established and continues to support are all enviable and should be applauded. Quite frankly, Mike Park is the man. Do not take that statement lightly.
So how does one approach a record constructed by “the man”? Perhaps, one immediately plays the album upon receiving it with such enthusiasm that Richard Simmons would take note. Or perhaps one dawdles for fear that this album may in fact ruin the musician’s reputation as “the man” in her/his mind. Obviously, I chose the latter approach. I waited and waited. Then I caved; I read the literature and waited some more. I wanted to be given an idea/a hint as to whether I should expect to be disappointed or pacified. It was for the sake of my vision of Mike Park. So that’s why I did it, judge me however you please.
As for my findings:
The album is quite the treat. I will not lie and call it brilliant, but it is indeed a solid effort from “the man.” It kicks off nicely with “Is It Safe for Me to Go Outside?” The ever so brief instrumental intro to the song sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a great tone, a chill tone, perhaps even a somber tone. While it is rather consistent through the album, the tracks differ enough to keep one interesting and satisfied. Great for those moods where all you want to do is lay down and think or relax. Starting the album off with a song that hints to the political theme of the album stressed by the press release is somewhat deceiving. While one may be able to put her or his own political twist regarding any country to the majority of the songs, none can really be considered political anthems for a generation. Quite frankly, I like it that way. It gives the audience more of a person feel, something to better to relate to.
Unlike some musicians, Park successfully found his vocal range and stuck to his guns. His sing-along melodies provide the listener with a good half hour of sweet, almost political, goodness. It seems as if this man can do no wrong.
(Sub City Records)