Album Review: Theme Park – Theme Park

After the release of their ‘Two Hours’ E.P in 2012, which combined the title track with a variety of covers, London based three piece Theme Park are back with their eponymous debut LP. With the rain and snow finally clearing, and the sun finally deciding to make an appearance, the idea of upbeat indie music in the warmth is a pleasure nobody can deny. If you are struggling to find a soundtrack for said event, well here is the perfect choice.

Theme Park provide song after song of happiness, and if you are able to prevent yourself dancing when listening alone in your room then it is safe to say that you’re a stronger person than I am. Don’t listen to this album if you have lost your ability to have fun (NME this is aimed at you) because this album is everything that pretentious indie isn’t. It is music that everyone can and will enjoy. Not just critics.

The band start the album off with ‘Big Dream’, which has a soulful beat that seems to epitomise the rest of the album. There is a fluid sense of anticipation that runs throughout this song, it prizes open an inner beat that gets you excited and interested for what is to come; it’s not just an opener, it’s also a great song in its own right. We are then taken straight into the instantly recognisable ‘Jamaica’, which is an infectious song that is guaranteed to provoke sing alongs after a few listens. In a world where music is getting so serious it’s a light relief to have Theme Park juxtaposing the miserable nature of so many with a big beaming smile. Similarly ‘Two Hours’ does the same thing; I mean it can only be described as a talent to make the lyrics ‘I can’t feel anything and it’s fading me down’ sound like King Charles’ ‘Bam Bam’.

The influence of various bands are evident throughout, but for a band that grew up alongside Bombay Bicycle Club and Cajun Dance Party, the intertwining of sounds is hardly going to come as a surprise. ‘Tonight’, produced by Ed Macfarlane of Friendly Fires, is for me the song of the album. It is the whole of the debut album rolled into one song: it’s well constructed, it’s happy and for all the miserable critics listening, has what they need to nod their heads and exclaim “yes I like this”.

The sporadic interjections of Friendly Fires’ soul are well crafted, there is everything and more that you expect from a feel good song. ‘Saccades (Lines We Delay)’, is a little bit of a curveball on the album – it is a good instrumental, but does it belong? By opinion only I feel, but the hype of ‘Tonight’ is enough to take me straight through it. ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Wax’ are two recognisable song that appear afterwards, and the staggered release of these as singles has allowed for a real familiarity to this album that helps the comforting nature of it. The final track ‘Blind’, has the deep feel to make it a strong final track; it slows the pace back down again and feels like we have done one big long loop from ‘Big Dream’.

This album shows the music scene that we can have upbeat music and enjoy it. Just because a song doesn’t contain depressing bass accompanied by similar lyrics does not have to mean that it isn’t a good song. If you have exams, if you are looking forward to summer or if you just frankly want something to smile about, then Theme Park are giving you this opportunity in the form of their self titled debut album.


Dan Jones

…Dan has been listening to Stornoway – Knock Me on The Head…


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