Amusement Parks on Fire – Amusement Parks On Fire

Amusement Parks on Fire - Amusement Parks on FireSometimes the name of a band just makes me want to buy their album. Amusement Parks on Fire resonated nicely with some photos I’d seen online of a decrepit, abandonded amusement park, somewhere in China. It’s a strange name for a band to be honest, and it bears no real connection to their music. The band is made up of one guy really, Michael Feerick who wrote all the songs by himself. Assembling a band he recorded this album back in early 2005. It harks back to the shoegazing days of the early 90’s, and bands like My Bloody Valentine and Ride. But there’s more hints of rock and the pace of some of the songs is energetic. Traditionally shoegazing gets viewed as wimpy music, played by shy people that don’t like to sing clearly. This is true, but APOF take the the best bits of shoe gazing (the melodies and sheer white noise) and meld it with rock’s energy and pace.

That said Michael Feericks’ vocals are often obscured and there are instrumental tracks. Some of the songs also have long drone sections which maybe could’ve been tightened up. “23 Jewels” and “Asphalt” are pleasant enough tracks that segue into much more powerful material. “Wiper” has a great sing-along chorus before it plunges into a feedback maelstrom. “Smokescreen” has a swooning vibe that matches the vocals perfectly. By this point the songs are sounding similar, mainly due to Feerick’s limits as a vocalist. But it’s never boring, the tracks are so “full-bodied” with noise, you don’t notice the lyrics. “The Ramones Book” slows the pace down and has a lead piano and is a welcome break. The final track “Local Boy Makes Good” is nothing but pure feeback and white noise.

The two best tracks show APOF at their best and their most frustrating. For me, this type of music is all about the moment the sheer noise reaches a climax or just a single chord change that blows you mind. “Venus In Cancer” is a storming opener, but the ending guitar solo never makes that perfect chord. “Venosa” is a fast paced heavy song with a brilliant chorus, but the drone section in the middle never gets going before the song suddenly ends. It leaves me a little frustrated about what may have been, but at the same time I’ve listened to this album so many times I must still love it for all it’s flaws.

Amusement Parks on Fire – Venus In Cancer:

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