Album Review

By: Kristin Helf, Columnist 

I’ve gotten to know the band “Parks Landing” pretty well in the last few weeks through interviewing them for this issue of the Towerlight, and then giving their debut EP an extensive listen so I could give you my honest opinion of it.

Let me just say now that I’m so grateful I haven’t yet had to speak with or review a band whose music I genuinely didn’t like. That would be so awkward, and something I’m not yet at all prepared for.

Especially since all three members of Parks Landing seemed like such completely nice people when I spoke to them, I’m relieved I don’t have to sit here and write, “0/10 this album is bad, do not listen to it!”

Now, as a general disclaimer, I don’t listen to a lot of music that would be considered “indie pop.” I know Parks Landing doesn’t want to box themselves into a particular genre, especially this early in their career, and I don’t want to do that to them either.

But while they’re not exactly pop-influenced, this EP does have a pretty pop-y sound.

First, a brief summary of the band’s history: it’s short, as they only just got together this March.

They went into the studio this past summer and recorded with producer Rob Freeman, former guitarist of post-hardcore band “Hidden in Plain View.”

Freeman has primarily recorded with post-hardcore and pop punk groups, from “Sound the Alarm” to solo artist Ally Burnett.

Niki DiCarlo sings the five catchy tunes on the EP, backed by drummer Tom Coleman and guitarist Dan Ciarrocchi.

DiCarlo’s voice perfectly accompanies both the pop and rock aspects of their music. She’s melodic, but edgier than the average bubble-gum pop princess, and Dan’s rhythmic guitar playing fully complements it.

Coleman has been described by his bandmates as an extremely talented and flexible drummer. Coleman has personally been inspired by almost every genre, and that wide variety of influence shines through in his drumming.

When it comes to the band, there are no weak spots. Individually, these musicians are all immensely talented and their sounds work even better when put together.

As far as the music goes, my favorite overall aspect is the lyrics. They’re deeply personal, revealing and relatable to both the bohemian Baltimore artist and suburban Towson college student.

In “Filters,” something as simple as the way a couple takes their coffee speaks more generally of the reasons their relationship failed: “Saccharine won’t help mask the bitterness in you / So keep convincing yourself I’m to blame, too,” DiCarlo sings.

In “Another Coast,” the last song on the EP and my favorite of the five, Dicarlo sings, “Oh I’m missing something I can’t identify / Imagining perfection as an attainable goal.” Even the most casual listener won’t be able to help but feel that Parks Landing has put their bedtime thoughts into words.

My one criticism of the album would be that it sounds a bit overly-produced, but that’s coming from someone who likes her music lo-fi. I enjoy listening to the older albums and EPs of established bands because they tend to be more raw, simple demos on Bandcamp that directly point to the innocent, naivety and early energy of starting a new band.

Basically, if you like listening to music and feeling like you’re in the basement of someone’s mother’s house while hearing a group of great musicians who are still undiscovered or just underground, then this album may not be for you.

However, if you prefer a more polished sound that still reflects the musicians’ natural talent along with indie pop vibes and intimate, original lyrics—then definitely check out the five songs on Parks Landings’ “Little Planes.”

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