Twists and turns. Ups and downs. Challenges and change. False starts, restarts, and full stops. Parks has been through a lot in its five-year existence. Lineup changes, a biking accident, deaths in the family, a cancer scare, and romantic breakups led to a series of delays for releasing the Boston fivesome’s self-titled full-length debut. It also led to more lyrical pathos, darker sonic moments, and better songwriting. “It’s hard for me to write when I’m happy,” says Parks frontman Brian E. King. A familiar lament for songwriters: creativity’s need for tension, struggle, and change. “The shit hit the fan,” he laughs. “All the delays and the record taking so long to come together gave me the opportunity to explore more abstract and vibe-y sounds to push the songs beyond catchy melodies and average lyrics,” says King. “The songs are deceptive since they never stay on the same path for too long. There are lots of twists and turns.” The album tacks from summery power pop and starry acoustic strum to harmony-laden melancholy with cohesive ease. “Fools,” the fizzy opener, gives way to the moody tinges of “I Don’t Want 2 Know U.” A sense of impermanence and regret shines on the sonic snapshots of “Old Hotel,” “3x5,” and “Digital Fantasy.” Then there’s “Headache”, the 88-second “turbo-charged bottle rocket of a tune” (via VANYALAND) which came after getting doored on his bike.
“Making this album coincided with worst time in my life. My mom died. The band lineup was in flux. My girlfriend, also my bandmate and best friend, and I broke up. I got diagnosed with stage-zero stomach cancer. It was a complete roller coaster,” says King, before adding with a laugh, “But I couldn’t be happier with this record.”
Parks is Brian E. King, lead vocals/guitar, Eric Bolton on guitar, Andrew Jones on drums, Rob Johanson on bass, and Robin Melendez on backing vocals.