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 finally releasing the Boston fivesome’s self-titled full-length debut this coming November 2nd. 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,” “3×5,” and “Digital Fantasy.”
Then there’s “Headache”, the 88-second “turbo-charged bottle rocket of a tune” which premiered this past week via VANYALAND, and was penned after King got doored on his bike… listen here
“I was in the middle of a break up, and we had just gotten in a fight, so I went out for a bike ride at 2 in the morning to clear my head.” One crushed helmet and a concussion later, he was in the ER. “If I didn’t have a helmet on, I probably would’ve died.”
“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.”