After releasing their self-titled EP in 2010, Toronto’s Parks & Rec has worked hard to bring a new batch of songs in their new album, Seeds Grown Here (2011). When the band sent me an advance copy of the album, I decided to do a track-by-track review on MBF. So, listen along to each track as you read!
1. In A Plateau is a bedroom ballad that doesn’t really serve to jump-start the album. It’s like the last lazy weekend at the cottage; sluggish, reluctant to leave, but tinged with memories of summertime. Would have been more effective if placed closer to the end of the tracklisting. Rating: 6/10
2. All These Lives Collide is a track built for driving too fast down the highway on an overbright Saturday morning on the way to your friend’s house. You’re excited to get there, so you take your turns too sharply, and at such high speeds, the wind makes the chassis sway like a waltz. The rapid and eager nodding of your head makes focusing on oncoming traffic slightly problematic. Rating: 8/10
3. The soft opening of Homeless Gardeners creeps under your skin like a story you hear on the news that follows you around all day. Suprisingly, it opens up into a warm crashing of drums that rides into something wonderfully evocative – right before dwindling down into softness again. This juxtaposition between exaultant and peaceful makes for a playful auditory puzzle both toe-tapping and reflective. Rating: 7.5/10
4. Let’s Get Carried Away channels an impatient air at the beginning while it waits to pick up. The delightful release of tinkling guitar comes forty seconds in, and you’ll be glad you waited. If only it retained that feeling for the rest of the song. Rating: 7/10
5. Light Up The Night a bit folksier, without straying into campfire-song territory. Since it utilizes an almost identical theme as Let’s Get Carried Away, even down to the same key signature, it feels like an unofficial part 2. For this, I’m giving it an identical score. Rating: 7/10
6. Get By‘s choral opening is, for lack of a better word, noble. It will make you take notice. This song is full of numerous different tempos and musical ideas, and while it doesn’t exactly suffer from this, it would have been nice to hear a few of them explored in a more intimate, thoroughly-paced way. Rating: 7.5
7. Lost And Found is the final track on Seeds Grown Here, and it’s a bold choice to end the album quietly. Slightly more relaxed and introspective, it feels like viewing grainy footage of a fluttering autumn leaf as filmed by a Betamax. A good way to end things. Rating: 7.5
KATIE’S FINAL THOUGHTS: Seeds Grown Here is a solid album with a few great ideas. At times, it feels like the overzealous sophamore eager to prove themselves to the group. Although none of the songs can be labeled as breathtaking on their own, several moments on the album are breathtaking on their own. Parks & Rec have seen greatness and spiked the musical punch of Seeds Grown Here with it, and now it’s up to them to pour in the whole mickey on their next album.
If you’d like Music Between Friends to review your next album, send us an email at musicbtwfriends @ gmail.com