Move over Bright Eyes, because a more captivating and even younger counterpart from the other side of the pond is here, and he just might have you warming the bench for the remainder of 2005. Amusement Parks on Fire is the alias of twenty year-old Michael Feerick of Nottingham, England who wrote and performed this nine song debut all on his own. Amusement Parks on Fire has the potential to take America by storm with its self-titled release that is utterly bewildering, due to the fact that Feerick has taken the drones and distortion of the shoegazer vertebrae and molded it into a genuine wall of sound.
On tracks such as “Venus is Character” he sings with the emotional dexterity of Sunny Day Real Estate’s Jeremy Enigk amidst a vapor of fuzz that hasn’t made any British music sound this potent since My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 swan song Loveless. “Venosa” has a perennial modulation which implements the foundation of the song as Feerick’s wholehearted singing shows solidarity with all of the emotions that human beings express at our most frustrated. It’s almost as if the song itself jumps into your subconscious and puts its hand on your shoulder to say “I feel your pain.”
Feerick tends to construct a pattern of ambient panic and cordial yearning on “Eighty Eight,” alongside an aura of fascinating melodies mixed with Brit-accented voices reciprocal to the scattered, half-buried dialogue of Dark Side of The Moon. “Wiper” is ever so vibrant that it makes the listener feel as if he is traveling through a tunnel of light. The guitar sprinkles around with the transient quality of an aurora borealis that ends on the dime of a dawdling piano solo reminiscent of Keith Jarrett’s The Köln Concert. An avant-garde and chamber sounding indie fortress of noise is the composition for the track “Asphalt” as a violin makes an epic hum that will touch your soul and give you goose bumps resulting from the all of the passion in the song.
“Smokescreen” in and of itself induces the feeling of personal astonishment and triumph comparable to reaching the top of Mt. Everest. The affable crescendo of the oddly-titled “The Ramones Book” is accompanied by a placid squelching from an organ in the song that shows what the Beta Band would have sounded like had they just got in touch with their inner soul. And “Local Boy Makes God” is the most infallible tune to be played at the end of the record, with an atmospheric miasma that will make you cherish the very moment that you are hearing it.
It is a rather grandiose deed to try to describe in words what how this album feels because it is at times beyond words. It must be heard and felt from each person because it is a journey into an almost secret dimension of sound that, like Shangri-La, is a utopia which is untouched and unspoiled from the outside world.
Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
Ride – Nowhere