The New Sounds Of Late Capitalism

Star Parks

Modern Outsider Records, 2020

http://www.starparksmusic.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/20/2020

An outfit that is difficult to classify but easy to enjoy, Star Parks has evolved into a seven piece mini-orchestra since their 2016 debut, Don't Dwell. Now with horn players as part of their lineup on this sophomore album, Star Parks builds their chamber pop ideas into a modern day version of Roxy Music meets Burt Bacharach, but with a more economical approach to recording. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Palm Sunday” starts the listen with dreamy, wispy vocals where soulful keys and restrained percussion help build the hazy atmosphere. Things take a turn quickly on the punchy and highly rhythmic “Something More,” a stunning tune where horns add much to the playfulness, xylophone, organ, and chimes are also in attendance on the Motown-flavored effort.

Towards the middle, the lush sounds of “Hobby Horse” even bring in a flute, while “Not Now Brian” flows with an elegance and grace that almost seems like a ballroom dancing soundtrack. The album highlight, “Oh Boredom (Schmaltz City, USA),” resides in the middle and offers dynamic melodies and a buzzing setting of dream pop brilliance.

Back half standout tunes include the precise baroque pop of “Ask Me” as well as the jazz-friendly “One Big Sigh.” The album exits just as charming at it started, with the cautious and sweet “All Your Saturdays At Once.”

While the album's lyrical themes surround alienation and disappointment, the music is uplifting, glorious, and even inspiring at times, as the ensemble weave in and out of timeless textures. 

Front man Andy Bianculli sure has come a long way with this one time solo project, and I don't think anyone is going to argue with the statement that Star Parks is in the best version of its existence yet with this retro sounding album that sounds exciting and fresh in today's digital age.

Rating: A-

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