Mike Park – North Hangook Falling (CD)

Starting out with a nuanced brand of acoustic rock in the vein of Jeff Ott’s solo work, Mike Park continues eir own “For The <3 of Music” with the emotive opening “Is It Safe For Me To Go Outside?”. A more electric type of indie-rock is brought to “Keeping The Seat Warm” which ties together Elvis Costello with the laid back sound of California rock. The bouncing beat of “Born To Kill” burns with a fury that belies its sedate sound; largely led by a tambourine and a chunky bass “Born To Kill” is the example of a track with a radio-friendly sound that nonetheless has a thoughtful style of arrangements. With a hint of reggae, this track simultaneously pulls from the recent history (Replacements) and more current (the 2000 self-titled Rancid album). With each of the track crafted with the same brand of talent and care, it is no surprise that each of the tracks on “North Hangook Falling” are cohesive and ultimately enjoyable. The production on this album allows Park to layer eir vocals over and over again (during “Crazed Man”) and reap the benefits of a more full sounding track without falling into the trap of having a too-full track. Using strings in all the opportune times (especially during “Asian Prodigy”), Mike Park is able to bring forth a hard-hitting viewpoint (tearing down stereotypes, even if they are ultimately positive). While there are quicker-tempoed tracks, the majority of “North Hangook Falling” comes straight from the heart; while tracks like “Asian Prodigy” may inflame listeners’ hearts, the vast majority of compositions will elicit tears rather than fists. Coming out of an early-nineties alternative rock foundation (taking pieces from The Replacements, Polaris and even Soul Asylum), Mike Park nonetheless can insert other genres and put forth something that will maintain its freshness long after the album has ceased being chronologically new. At forty minutes, the trip that Mike Park takes eir listeners through is not the easiest to complete; the emotions strewn throughout the disc are intense enough that they may be triggering for some certain individuals. The perfect unity of a quick-step acoustic guitar line with strings makes a track like “When Is The Moment That You’ll Sing” memorable; the track is just another stop on this trip. Mike Park comes forth with yet another salvo of emotional rock that will resound long in listener’s heads after the disc has spun to a close. Top Tracks: North Hangook Falling, Crazed Man Rating: 6.9/10 Mike Park – North Hangook Falling / 2005 Hopeless / 12 Tracks / http://www.hopelessrecords.com / http://www.subcity.net / Reviewed 29 October 2005 [JMcQ]

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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