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1st March 2013

Album: Theme Park – Theme Park

The London trio’s summery debut is the perfect tonic for a dull February

Transgressive Records


There’s not a huge amount to be said for January and February.  In January, there’s the exam period and the fact that the cold weather is still with us, but without the excitement of Christmas to take the edge off.  And then in February, if you’re single there’s the inevitability of everyone and their mother making you incredibly aware of that fact when Valentine’s Day rolls around.  Therefore, you can be forgiven for looking ahead to the summer, eagerly awaiting festival line-up announcements and dreaming of a time when there might actually be a little bit of warmth in the air.

If it’s warmth you’re after then Theme Park’s eponymous debut album won’t fail you.  From its opener, ‘Big Dream’, the record’s synths and syncopated drums conjure up images of sunshine, cold beer and a life free from the day-to-day drudgery of the winter months.  It’s an undeniably catchy album, full of guitar riffs that will lodge themselves in your head for days.  One of the standout songs, ‘Wax’ is particularly adept at getting stuck in the brain.  It’s arguably more sophisticated than some of the other tracks on the record with the almost irritatingly catchy riff perfectly capturing the youthful hope of the lyrics, with a chorus that begins “We got the love/We got the night”, encapsulating that feeling of summer nights spent behaving badly.

There are times on the record, however, when it feels like this is a band that isn’t one hundred per cent sure what it wants to be.  It is easy to draw parallels from stalwarts of the indie-dance scene such as Friendly Fires, Foals and earlier Maccabees material.  These comparisons are perfectly justified on songs like ‘Blind’ but there are other songs that seem to borrow from the bad side of pop.  For example, some of the backing vocals on new single ‘Tonight’ wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the singles being released by bands on The Big Reunion at the height of their 90s pop stardom.  Thankfully, however, these moments are rare and for the most part the pop element is incorporated with style, as early singles ‘Jamaica’ and ‘Two Hours’ showcase brilliantly.

Theme Park is, by and large, an incredibly strong debut.  It’s a wonderfully optimistic record that sets down some very promising elements for the band’s future.  It’s not going to break any records, but it’s ridiculously fun, and it has made the last few days of February just that little bit more bearable.

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