Star Parks may not be on the tip of your tongue or at the top of your latest playlist, but they will be. What began as a side-project devised by Texan, Andy Bianculli, has flourished into a fine marriage of musicians with no inhibitions, running free and having fun in a playground of instrumental and lyrical experimentation. They possess an ingenuity that is rare and will not go unnoticed in 2016, making it their year to illuminate everyone that will listen to their lusty music.
The quintet have just released their debut Don’t Dwell, a beautiful collection of highly emotive compositions that will toy with your heart strings from the moment the music commences. The bittersweet songs are informed by overzealous lust, a longing to leave behind what you’ve come too familiar with, and exchanges of thoroughly modern malice, “I hope you die in an unphotogenic way.” These are universal landmarks that tend to resonate heavily with music lovers, and Star Parks have mastered the melodies that will have you returning to those moments.
One of the greatest challenges the album poses is conjuring the willpower to refrain from repeating the sublime opening track, ‘Hymn for the Hopeless.’ If, like me, you’re a bit of a lost cause and devout hopeless romantic, then this song will strike a chord and reverberate within until you’ve totally crumbled. It is one of the most seductive dream-pop songs I’ve ever heard. The slow and soft vocals paired with scuzzy guitar distortions and lingering keys culminate in a slow, gradual build-up that leaves you with a knot in the pit of your stomach. It’s an exciting feeling akin to falling in love, and as the album progresses, as with real life experiences of romance, it becomes addictive and a necessary part of your day. Other highlights throughout the album include, ’Theoretical Girls’, which blends Bianculli’s hypnotic vocals and an infectious bop-along bass that makes for an instant hit single. Meanwhile, the darker distortions return for ‘Souvenirs’, a song that once again, instills of the unwavering sentimentalism that triggers the head over heels sensation you feel for Don’t Dwell.
Perhaps it is because Star Parks was originally conceived as a side-project, there’s a transparency and unfiltered honesty with the themes and lyrics throughout. No two songs on their debut sound the same, affirming the band’s authenticity in making music that is born from an unfettered place. You could liken the nine songs to a group of friends that came together naturally, each identifiable with their own personality that compliments its contemporaries, as opposed to a family forced together, bearing uncanny resemblances. This quality ensures that, even after countless listens and revisits to Don’t Dwell, you will find it hard to grow tired of these songs.
The timing of Don’t Dwell’s release couldn’t be more perfect – it reintroduces us to those dizzying summer evenings that need the right combination of mischievous musings and dreamlike music to help create memories of times where everything felt achievable because you had the reassuring sounds of Star Parks encouraging you along the way.