Tuesday, January 6

Parks Kind of Cool, Like Vanilla Ice Cream

Artist: Cale Parks
Album: Sparklace

Comments: Sparklace is the worst kind of album to review because I have no strong feelings towards it either way. It is a startlingly above average album, by no means good and definitely not band. It is the vanilla of electronic music: it will sometimes make you want to dance and sometimes you will not even notice that its on, but it will never challenge or elate you.

Tracks on the album go one of two ways, atmospheric drone and weird, Brian Eno-esque dance music. I find the sequencing of the album odd, Parks chooses to put most of the more active tracks ("Two Haunt Me" and "Some Sew, Some Find" especially) in the back half of the CD while the first few minutes are thick with more subtle and ambient fare ("Train Lady" and "Every Week Ends") The album begins and ends with electronic interludes that are not much more than audio experiments. The eight tracks in between are strangely charming and almost instantly forgettable. This is the sort of album I would only put on while I was doing something else.

Initially, I felt guilty about my assessment of Sparklace. When I saw Parks open for Ted Leo a few weeks back, he preformed admirably in the face of a largely ambivalent crowd. In the 30 seconds I spent talking to him, he seemed like a nervous, likable guy who just wanted to make low impact dance music, and I found that charming. After some brief research, however, I realize Parks doesn't need my support. Besides his solo stuff, the dude is active in Aloha and White Williams, two bands with more than enough indie love. The last thing they need is more blog buzz.

While I cannot recommend Sparklace to anyone, I also would never chastise someone for picking it up. There are some neat sounds to be found (the wind chimes on "Age of Reform" are hella peaceful) and the whole thing is largely enjoyable. It just lacks any and all staying power.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Key Tracks: Every Week Ends, Two Haunt Me, Some Sew, Some Find

Buy, Steal, Skip:
Steal, I guess.

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