From his first EP, Under the Unminding Skies, in 2003, Patrick Park has traveled from label to label on each of his releases, while shifting his sonic approach ever so slightly each time. That first EP, released on Badman, was a simple and straightforward folk-pop set which featured some of Park’s most beautiful songs, from the twangy “Nothing’s Wrong” to the gently gorgeous “Home For Now.” On his proper full-length debut Loneliness Knows My Name, he took that sound and beefed it up with full-band arrangements, sounding something like a harder rocking cousin to Ryan Adams’ country-tinged folk-rock. Yet, when Hollywood Records folded, Park transferred over to Curb Appeal Records for the more subdued, yet still characteristically beautiful Everyone’s In Everyone.
On album number three, however, Park has come back home, so to speak, issuing his newest effort Come What Will on Badman, and as such it recalls the simple beauty of his first EP, albeit with more fleshed out arrangements to back it up. Like before, it’s an earnest and rustic effort, with Park’s acoustic guitar plucks and soft-spoken baritone at the center of each song. Yet each song slowly opens up and unfolds into a more lush and lovely arrangement, each intricate detail amplifying the powerful yet delicate nature of Park’s songwriting.
The finger picked shuffle of “Blackbird Through the Dark” initially comes across like a classic folk song from the 1970s, with Park’s own voice recalling Tim Buckley’s own mighty pipes. Then come the bassy piano notes, and ultimately an unexpectedly grand string arrangement atop Park’s solo, sending the tune to new, soaring heights. Adept as Park is at delicate and pretty, however, he reserves his grit for the right moments, as on the title track, which rolls along with a badass strut. Still, on a song like “You Were Always the One,” Park also displays that sometimes very little is needed to make a song sound great, in this case, merely his voice and guitar.
Come What Will is a pretty short album, only 10 songs in less than 35 minutes. But Park is extremely skilled in making a lasting impact in a limited amount of time. This album is no exception; there’s no room for filler on this lean set, but Park makes every minute count.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.