The Parks Dept.
The first two tracks of this record are incredible.
Urgent electro instrumentals that some how seem dreamy & otherworldly whilst borderline gabbaesque beats thump away, then a delicious layering of child like sounds, repetition & pleasing bleeps rise out of the speakers & head straight for my foot-tapping-on-switch. Truly magical, I’m actually pretty amazed I’ve not heard it in the background of a Skins episode. (I mean that as a compliment, I promise.)
So I was understandably surprised when the real life drums & guitar kick in on track three, it just goes downhill from there.
It reminds me of now defunct Nottingham post-post-punk party kings, Punish The Atom, except the drum sound is so lo-fi as to sound cheap & tinny & the vocals so bratty & bored, something I normally like, just falls utterly flat (something Punish’s front man never had a problem with). This is a shame as I love the keyboard refrain & rising chorus. But I am actually irritated by this track.
The next track begins with more well chosen beat & sounds, but still these bored sounding vocals, which, when matched with a monotone delivery & repetitive lyrical refrains, make the whole song just boring.
Then we have the vocoder & comforting chords that begin Natural History, when joined by occasional hand claps & I’m straight back in love with this record again, add to that what I believe to be real drums & a fantastic Gang Of Four sounding bass & you have a track I can imagine soundtracking hundreds of adventures.
Fifth track The Neu Wave does sound like a re-imagining of new wave, but again, these deliberate flat vocals. I adore the instrumentation, but my God are the vocals just grating. I hate the idea that it’s hip to be bored, I like being excited & excitable, I don’t remember even Joy Division sounding so dour.
I really wish this album was instrumental; I would then be giving “No/Noise” 10/10. Mr. Farmer should take off the Super Disco Brakes (one of the darker & better of the instrumental pieces on the album, it even pulls off a guitar solo, which has no right to be there, with aplomb) & ride down the hill as fast & as far away from the post punk business post haste.