Theme Park are finally releasing their self-titled debut next month. The word 'finally' is stressed because the London band put their first single out back in August 2011 and have been teasing us with other gems ever since.
Releasing an album early in the year can sometimes be a bit of a lost cause, but it's also a challenge. The artist has to make an album that will lodge itself so securely in the minds of writers and music lovers alike, so when they come to think about their 'Albums of the Year' in Nov/Dec, it's not forgotten. Don't sweat Theme Park, you'll be fine. This will not be on the bottom of the pile.
It's packed with summery, calypso, indie-funk, sunshine music that will raise the morale in cold February and be listened to right through until the summery breeze descends, when it becomes a holiday soundtrack for anyone jetting off to anywhere mildly warmer than the UK or anyone enjoying some sun at home. Consequently, it'll offer some post-summer memories for the rest of the year, job done.
Right from the first track, 'Big Dream', it's apparent the record is going to be a luscious treat. The deep bass, discrete tapping sounds and cool riff help to form a funky vibe. Vibe may be a hideously cliché word, but its very necessary here because these same 'band at a beach bar vibes' tremor through the entire album.
Previously released songs 'Wax', 'Two Hours', 'Ghosts', and 'Jamaica' all have a place on the record. All fit well, though it's a shame 'Milk' or 'A Mountain We Love' couldn't have made an 11-track album a 12-track one. Lead vocalist Miles Haughton's tender words on 'Wax'; "We got the love, we got the night, we got the time, we got the fight, we got the love"; seem to sum up a large proportion of the stories this album gives.
Along with 'Wax' and in a lot of the newer songs, there's a lot of mention of 'tonight'. The trio seems to focus on living in the moment. There's even a song called 'Tonight'. "Baby let's get high tonight and wake up by your side", sings Haughton before a tranquil breakdown with tingling guitars and peaceful effects. 'Still Life' is a more erratic offering with lyrics, "This could be ours tonight forever", washed over an array of sounds including a high-pitched whizz which, if it was any higher, it'd be entering dog whistle territory.
'Ghosts' is very Friendly Fires-ish with high vocals about watching the sun come up and a beautiful girl. 'Los Chikas' has the same essence as the rest but it's more chilled with an acoustic. It's like an end of the night, sitting on a balcony song. Drunken reminiscent 'ooohs' signal words about pretty girls looking fine.
'Saccades (Lines We Delay)' keeps the summer theme with a more experimental approach. The distant lyrics sound almost like they're being garbled underwater. The dud beat and scattered riffs continue until a lovely transition back to the funk we have acquainted ourselves with.
Theme Park have delivered here a great debut with a lot of personality. There's sure to be a sunny year ahead for the trio.
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