Building A Better _______ (Lobster)
by Chad Bowar
Generally, artists progress from album to album, their songwriting and musicianship steadily improving and becoming more complex. On their third album, Park decided to buck that trend and go the opposite direction. They simplified everything, from the arrangements to the lyrics. Stripping away the layers and multiple riffs makes for a very straightforward CD, but one that still has a lot of catchy hooks and melodies. It’s not as dark as some of their earlier work, and could be categorized as emotional pop punk. Working once again with producer Cameron Webb, who’s been in the studio with everyone from Motörhead to Social Distortion, has served this CD very well. Park is a versatile group, able to pull off the mellow, introspective songs and the outgoing poppier tracks with equal aplomb. And just because they’ve simplified things, it doesn’t mean this a simple CD, just a simpler one. The lyrics are still very eloquent and direct, and Ladd Mitchell’s vocals fall somewhere between emo and shoegaze. The most poignant song is “Mississippi Burning,” a tribute to the murdered Nigerian student Olamide Adeyooye, which features haunting female backing vocals.