Amusement Parks on Fire – Road eyes
Stargazers, that’s how Amusement Parks on Fire have defined themselves, not shoegazers. This really strikes me as surprise because every time I listen to them I feel like turning my head up to the sky (or the ceiling, it basically depends where am I at that moment). I’m not sure if that movement comes from their high pitched-tone songs or because there’s certain hidden optimistic message behind their songs. Still, I wonder.
Amusement Parks of Fire delivered so nicely this year with their newest Album, Road Eyes, and I turn, once again, my head up to the stars.
This album really got me from track one, ‘Road Eyes’: I can play this song all day, I can dream of it and find a way to see divinity at a glance, while still tied down to the ground. There’s a rather interesting chorus lead by a female voice, a conversation behind the main theme, then the song flows with the word “Annie” from Mr. Feerick’s throat.
Lyrics by Amusement Parks on Fire may seem sometimes like doomsday and The Rapture mixed together. But they are more like walking on the edge and falling at free will, never landing, as if the ground would never come and time practically would stop; that’s the feeling I get from this first track. No gravity.
There are only a few albums that really know how to flow, and that’s been a feature from this band’s discography: they tell stories so tightly that, if you really want to get a meaning out of it, you ought to listen to the whole album. And so the story of Road Eyes begins to unfold.
‘Flashlight Planetarium’ brings us back to Earth with a powerful drum punch, guitar distortion, playing with scales and bringing a perfect harmony encompassed by a desperate drum beat.
The end of the song is rather interesting: with the sound of a radio with raw transmission waves, a sound that links us with ‘Inside Out’. I must say how much I loved vocals in this one and how it’s a song with two parts: the first one distinguished by an acoustic guitar, a moment of peace after a sad moment. The second is despair, stressed out with a violin (or synth), piano and vocals at the same tone and color than violin’s. The bridge then re-incorporates the violin and then breaks the whole tranquility sensation and the end of it is just a warm night. Lovely! If they play this song live, I think that would bring a pretty intimate moment with the audience.
‘Raphael’, the fourth track, brings again the cry of guitars and mad drums, however, the sound is not like the one expected from Amusement Parks: it’s a quiet, self-restraining melody, well defined positions for each instrument and somewhat would remind me of the good old 90s; riffs would be made of what was called “alternative music” once upon a time.
There’s a very nice melodic surprise in the exact middle of the song that would slightly change the dynamics of the whole theme, all instruments follow through and still will flow like the trail of a comet. 3 structures make this song, and the 3rd one is an unquestionable “we love the 90s” statement.
‘Echo Park / Infinite Delay’, then ‘Wave of the Future’: flow continues into vacuum; the sixth track (‘wave of…’) would remind me of their second album, Out of the Angeles (2006); maybe it’s because of drumming style and space effects, all together with their guitar sounds that’ll make their brand apart from other bands.
The journey continues with a surprisingly quiet song. The tone of vocals is the same as in ‘Inside Out’, I liked it lots! It’d sound as a “farewell” song, like parting ways painfully, and pain brings loud guitars, yet perfectly ordered, like order in chaos. ‘So naturally’ is the name given to this goodbye. Nice feedback!
‘Water from the Sun’ turned out to be my second favorite from this album; I get a back and forth feeling. A faint female voice combined with male brings the Magic to this tune. A different statement to the ones I’d expect from Amusement Parks on Fire (again), guitars are still there, though. This is another sound of divinity mixed with an almost discrete and invading dark side with random effects on vocals (on second thought, I wouldn’t believe they’re random at all).
The conclusion of this 8th and penultimate track was the one thing that really got my attention, and sounds like the sun reflected on a crystal, water in a quiet afternoon, or just reflected on the earth, like the sound of one shared happy memory. Feedback rocks! (… again). The end of the song: that memory finally fades away painfully.
The last track (yes! Only 9 tracks) again mixes seamlessly with that emotionally painful fade and waives goodbye saying ‘Inspects the evil side’ (isn’t that what we really want from this life?)
This is also a quite interesting structure and message: it’s a slow constant crescendo, those where it’s impossible to guess when the break-up moment would come, until it finally makes its way with a bass note; yeah! Bass makes the transition! And then it changes to guitar.
I’d dare to say that Amusement Parks on Fire’s style is all summarized in this song: we get a compilation of all of their styles: piano, an “everything loud!” moment (the type that mean you will buy a new pair of loudspeakers), acoustic guitars, transitions with drums to get a symphonic effect, and if there’s any doubt about it, we have the violin from song number two to confirm that, yes, we this is Amusement Parks on Fire. And, feedback rules! That’s the end of the argument.
I certainly wouldn’t expect a song from this band to end without any feedback, it’s simply their trademark and few people really know how to use it, and less people would know how to make funny experiments with it and create such atmospheres like Amusement Parks on Fire does.
Road Eyes is definitely an excellent getaway from reality; it will remind you there’s more to life than this, here on Earth. There’s also the sky and millions of possibilities, and everything that troubles your mind will turn into ease if you watch the skies.