It’s been more than 10 years since Amusement Parks on Fire’s last LP. They’ve just announced a new one, An Archaea, set to release on June 25.
In the meantime, their 2017 and 2018 EPs were beautiful, and May 2020 saw an EP of rarities, which I review here. It’s called Thankyou Violin Radiopunk.
One of the things I love about Amusement Parks on Fire is that their songs are just as good, whether they consist of fuzzy, distorted guitars, or whether it’s all acoustic. The first track on Thankyou Violin Radiopunk proves that. It’s called “Firth of Third,” which has been listed under Michael Feerick’s name on YouTube for quite some time. It’s one of those YouTube videos I find myself watching on a regular basis. I think it’s one of his best songs.
Next is a “rustic,” reworked version of “Venus in Cancer,” which is just as hypnotic as the louder, heavier version APOF released on their self-titled 2005 album. APOF proves here that it’s as much about the songwriting as the sound. (I love this song’s chord progression, and how it doesn’t resolve to the tonic until the very end.) The tempo in this version is slower than the original version, too, showing that a great song can work in different styles and even at different tempos.
Then, track 3 is “Come of Age,” which reminds me of their 2005 “Blackout,” the first song I ever heard by the band. This song has been on the YouTubes since 2016, apparently. How did I miss it? How did it not make it onto an LP already? It’s a treat to have a song this good on a rarities collection.
Track 4 is a demo version of “Water from the Sun,” from 2010’s Road Eyes. Track 5, “Young Flight” (New Wave) is further proof that APOF’s songs are strong enough to sound great no matter how they arrange them.
I have no idea where track 6, “Hopefully Yours,” comes from, but the layering of room-filling, distorted guitars on top of piano hints (maybe!) that listeners can expect further sonic experimentation from this band in the future. Track 7, “Lasts Forever,” feels like a bookend to “Firth of Third.” Think: Smashing Pumpkin’s “Spaceboy,” but with way better guitar tone and vocals.
I confess I don’t really understand how the final track, “Tape Grip Addition (Prerise)” fits with the rest of the songs. If I read this album like my philosophy professor taught me to read a text, and I ask, “What’s the author doing now?”, that question is generally clear to me throughout even this hodgepodge collection of rarities. Until the last track. My best guess is this may be some kind of setup to the forthcoming LP, a “call” whose “response” is coming soon.
So glad this great band is sharing music with the world again.
You can listen to and purchase Thankyou Violin Radiopunk here.
Many thanks to the band for download access so I could write the review.