I'm looking for the umlauts to put over the "u" in "NuGazer," although I don't think it's really that necessary. While not a huge fan of the genre, I can appreciate it, and I might even enjoy it every now and then, which would be the case with this album.
Amusement Parks on Fire is Michael Feerick, a Nottingham, England musician
who has produced this album by playing every instrument on it. The album prompted
me to find a live performance of his band in order to get a different perspective,
and boy did it make a difference (KEXP
Live Performances Podcasts). While the
album is somewhat thin sounding and under produced, a live band makes all of
the difference. Perhaps Feerick did not have the means to have a live band
during the recording of the album. Still, the live performance really made
me want to listen to the album more and made me notice a lot of hooks and transitions
I hadn't noticed before. It really stood out and brought out a lot more of
the album than the album does itself. Which shouldn't really be the case. I
would think you'd want that to happen on the actual album.
The album Amusement Parks on Firestarts off with a Godspeed
You Black Emperor montage, then develops into shoegazer territory with
nary a break from such throughout the remainder. I'm OK with that concept
for an album, but it is dated. It's fine occasionally, but I couldn't do
this all day. The production is minimal and probably assembled over a period
of several self-rhythm inducing sessions. In fact, I find the nature of the
recording of the album (sans a band) somewhat disturbing, and it makes me
feel alienated which could be biasing my opinion. I ask the question: "What
is so hard about working with other musicians on an album?" On the other
hand, Feerick should be commended for assembling all of these songs and performing
them himself. This is a skill that takes a lot of patience and skill. If
that's your bag, baby, go ahead.
The live performance I listened to honestly changed my opinion. I just want to point this out because it was this recorded performance that led me to listen to the album in a different light. I could probably change my opinion once again if I were to see the band perform in person. It's almost as if there was a chemistry in the songs, and something truly comes out of the performance that's not there on the album.
The sound of the album mostly resembles that of My Bloody Valentine or even
some 24 Hour Revenge Therapy-era Jawbreaker, with sampled TV
clips or audio montages about something vaguely intellectual. The problem is
that there is nothing on the album that really stands out. There is a very
droning, fuzzy, and loud guitar tone that permeates the entire album.
It gets a little old after the first song. I've listened to the album about
8 times, and I try every time to just crank it up and see if I can get a bit
more of an effect, but all I get are ringing ears. Honestly, there isn't enough
here to listen to. It's a completely flat recording, and somewhat uninspired.
Overall, if you want a heavy, slow, lofi, nugazer recording, look into this Amusement Parks on Fire recording. Otherwise, I'd shy away. I would recommend checking them out live, and I'd be curious to see if there's more musicianship on the second album. I'd even be willing to re-listen if the album was re-recorded with a live band. I really think that makes all the difference in this case.