Reviews:: Patrick Park Everyone's in Everyone

Before I start, I just want to say that the Mark Berube / Dan Mangan show last night was stellar. I'll have pics and a full review, but Mark and the string quartet was fantastic, and for a man and a guitar, Dan was able to control the crowd perfectly.

Anyway - Patrick Park. His story sounds like so many others you hear about. Young artist moves to NYC with delusions of grandeur, and gets his ass kicked by the city. He heads to LA and starts to find himself, his voice, and his style. Sadly, his record label wasn't as interested in him finding his voice as they were him finding their voice.

So you are one album in the can, and completely uncertain with what comes next. What do you do? Well for Patrick Park, he kept pushing forward writing what he wanted to write, singing what he wanted to sing. It's that honesty and new found self assurance that Patrick has found that is helping him arrive with a whisper, head out with a bang.

The record opens with Life is a Song, and you hear Patrick coming to terms with how life works out. As he asks, Tell me what good is saying your free, in a dark and storming sea where you chained to your history, you're surely sinking fast over a simple acoustic and the gentle touches of Brandon Bush's rhodes work, you are willing to listen to whatever he tells you, because his stories don't just apply to him, they apply to life.

While most song singer / songwriters spend hours coming up with clever phrases to turn, Patrick seems a more pen to paper artist and it comes through in his songs. Instead of waiting for puns and punch lines, you are listening to a man who's punch drunk from life, but still keeps getting up. The upbeat shuffle he uses on Here We Are applies the same warmth that Matt Costa is able to create so easily, but Park changes up the instrumentation and textures often on this album. He bulks up the sound on the fantastic Nothing's Lost as the band experiments with Cello, rhodes, harmoniums and static feedback.

Park seems more concerned with the state of the world than rehashing old flames and dwelling on heartbreak. He questions the way the world works, wondering why the opinions of some are deemed fact and how the governments rigid inability for compassion is going to and how they keep forcing young men to die for something they don't know (Pawn's Song). He adds a nice electric guitar sound to roughen up the sound and add the anger the track needs.

Another stand out is the rollicking One Body Breaks. Patrick shares the mic with Sera Calhoone and their voices meld together well. The song is energetic, and the big guitar solo actually works, despite the normal hushed, reserved tones of the rest of the record. He slows the tempo again for the last two songs (There's a Darkness, Everyone's in Everyone) and the moody, cloudy, swirling textures really end the record well.

I've always said you can describe 99% of coffee shop singers the same. There are only so many chords, so many girl and so much heartache to go around. You can talk about influences and emotions, but in the end most of those 99% end up playing to talking crowds and playing covers. Avoiding that temptation to convert the title of this record into something clever play of words, I'll just say Patrick is in that other 1%; the ones that have that something that makes you listen.
MP3:: Nothing's Lost
MP3:: Nothing's Wrong
Check out 4 songs on his e-card.
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