NBHAP Rating: 4,7/5
[one_half last=”yes”]KARIN PARK
Label: State Of The Eye Recordings
01. Look What You’ve Done
03. Life Is Just A Dream
04. Stick To The Lie
05. Whipped Cream Silver And Pearls
07. Human Beings
09. Hard Liquor Man
10. Walls Are Gonna Fall
11. Shake With The Devil
A new definition of ‘Pop’
Opening her fifth album with a powerful beat and heavy distortion, KARIN PARK asserts her authority over this latest accomplishment. Look What You Have Done, released as a single last November, ironically acknowledges in its title the return of the elusive artist. Her work is slowly building an audience and, after this latest release, it’s unlikely that she’ll stay pop’s best-kept secret for long. The entire album is steeped in intense feeling which, rather than detracting from her sound, contributes to it. While it has been created during a tumultuous period in PARK’s life and, as a result, includes some deeply personal works, KARIN PARK still lets her listener into these moments of reflection.
Authority in Artistry
PARK’s beat choices, with the contributions of her drummer (and brother) David Park, are consistent, authoritative and the perfect guide for her lyrics that refuse such attempts at certainty. Her harmonious vocals in Shine are laid over a superbly synthed melody in a way that harks to her fourth album, Highwire Poetry. Placing Shine immediately after her decisive opening track, PARK demonstrates not only her diverse accomplishments but also the diverse ideas within her album. It is a mellow, romantic tune situated within the distorted parentheses of Look What You’ve Done and the despondent Life Is Just a Dream. As the album continues, KARIN PARK continuously defies expectation from track to track. The synth that opens Daemons might anticipate hallucinatory, abstract lyrics but, instead, develops into a raw beat that exposes equally raw feeling. The self-deprecatory claim, ‘I really wanted to fuck up, like bored people do’, guides the listener through assumptions of synth-pop into a new intensity. Straight after the complexity of Daemons comes the severity of Hard Liquor Man. Here, PARK’s voice transforms into angry chants, empowering the track’s animalistic appeal. This album is meticulously thought out; while Apocalypse Pop never offers a clear intention to its listener, it is in this uncertainty, in this experimentation, that KARIN PARK exposes her diverse abilities.
A Concluding Crescendo
Just as its title may suggest, her album is full to the brim with juxtaposition that, somehow, provides cohesion throughout. Apocalypse Pop may be two ridiculously contrasting concepts but, when placed side-by-side, they roll off the tongue with ease. This clever linking of contrasts finds its place within every track on the album. She structures her album in such a way that it is a rollercoaster of altering melodies and emotions. Peaks of power in both beat and sentiment, subsequently, followed by pensive troughs; but the quality is sustained across her range of sounds. As the album draws to a close, Walls Are Gonna Fall provides these contrasts within a single track. PARK draws the listener in with her isolated vocals that build to a crescendo alongside the synth; but this building crescendo denies the listener any resolution. PARK, once again, ignores and expands the rules of the ‘pop’ genre within which she has chosen to define her music. In a recent interview with NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION, KARIN PARK described Apocalypse Pop as the concluding part of a trilogy of albums. In this sense, it deserves all the accolades that are typically awaiting the final part of a series, but should have, in fact, been awarded throughout (I’m looking at you, Lord of the Rings!). In all seriousness, from operatic passion to fearless instrumental decisions, Apocalypse Pop is outstanding from start to finish. We can only hope that KARIN PARK’s popularity grows and grows along with her musical achievements.
‘Apocalypse Pop’, KARIN PARK’s impressive concluding album to a trilogy is a truly great rollercoaster of melody and emotions, fully deserving its title.