Upon beginning my piece on Park’s latest effort, Building A Better _____, I did what I almost always do. Once I’ve given the record an ample listen, I pull up the band’s website, thumb through the press sheet that had been tossed in with the record, and generally try to figure out a bit of info on exactly where these musicians are coming from. When I got knee-deep into the back story of Park though, my attention was almost waning from reading about the numerous breakups, line-up changes, and general what-not that has gone wrong with this band on it’s sordid path from it’s humble roots back in 1999, to this superb record that it’s taken the collective moniker close to six years to finally make.
The current, and fourth, line-up for the band is Ladd Mitchell on guitar and vocals, Miles Logan on drums, Alex Haycraft on bass, and finally Aaron Bickel on guitar. This seems to be the golden set-up, as the guys have managed to put together a record that will surely be remembered as a turning point in the band’s career; effectively propelling them from obscurity into an indie rock band to be reckoned with. The sound of Park is, first and foremost, unabashed emo rock. Inklings of a more mature Jimmy Eat World are surely present here, as well as ample doses of Further Seems Forever, and Saves The Day. Ladd Mitchell’s vocal delivery is greatly reminiscent of what Copeland’s Aaron Marsh laid down on that band’s superb Beneath Medicine Tree; which works fantastically well for Park; meshing perfectly with the industrial guitar licks, and melodic undertones.
A very literate, though amazingly unpretentious brand of indie emo with instantly likeable pop sensibilities is what Park has brought to the table on this release. Things open fittingly with the catchy, more-than-single worthy songs “The Trophy Wife,” and “Mississippi Burning.” The good continues on with the stellar (and in my opinion highlight of the record) song “Angels and Errors.” There is more than enough here to propel this band to a much-deserved place above the current echelon of dime a dozen emo-rock bands.
This is music for fans of emo rock that don’t just sit around and cry on Friday nights. This is rock with emo undertones—not the other way around. The boys of Park are definitely building something; personally I think they’re hard at work on building a better rock band. Enjoy.