Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Patrick Park's acoustic folk doesn't quite connect

March 25, 2010

There’s generally three types of reviews: the good review, the bad review, and the average review. The bad are simple to write; when something is bad, you immediately know why (bad vocals, poor rhythm, not interesting, etc). Good ones are a little harder, because you have to figure out what it is that you like so much. But the hardest ones to crank out are average reviews. It’s hard to not make the writing wishy-washy when the feelings toward the record are actually wishy-washy.

See, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Patrick Park’s Come What Will. It has solid acoustic folk songwriting with a crack band behind him. His vocals are solid, and his melodies are hummable. His lyrics are decent, and even his album art is really good. But not a thing sticks once the album is over. The whole thing just slides right out of short term memory.

“Silence and Storm” recalls a more emotive Andrew Bird, while “You Were Always the One” would make Josh Ritter proud. “Blackbird Through the Dark” will please country traditionalists with its gentle snare gallop, choir background singers, and swaying strum.  The duet with a female vocalist on “Starry Night” is also well-done.

There’s not really any bad tunes here, as all of them stick to their mid-tempo, fingerpicked guns. But, as I said earlier, there’s not much here that evokes strong positive feelings either. It’s an enigma to me; Patrick Park has all of the parts that he needs to succeed. They just didn’t get combined right on this album. I hope that he continues to write and hone his craft, as I feel he has talent. He just didn’t hit a home run on this go-round.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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