Star Parks Album Review
The New Sounds of Late Capitalism (Modern Outsider)
The lounge-y Fifties genre of exotica pulled inspiration from unspecified faraway locales, aestheticized through the lens of American fantasy. Songwriter Andy Bianculli, who notes the niche as a reference for his sophomore LP as Star Parks, employs a similar Instagram filter to postmodern discontent on The New Sounds of Late Capitalism. High note "Oh Boredom (Schmaltz City, USA)" views the zeitgeisty subject from a Wes Anderson-enchanted vantage, and it's certainly schmaltzy. "Cafes in the park/ Politics and art/ And other brands of bourgeois bullshit" croons Bianculli amid bright horns and backing vocalizations. Since compact chamber pop debut Don't Dwell, he now fronts a small orchestra, captured in full swell by Lockhart producer Danny Reisch. Every beat teems with whimsical flourish. In describing "Something More," the maestro told Popmatters, "There's a lot of Motown in there and everything from bells and tingshas [to] car keys and a garden weasel as well." Beside clear Sixties references, sprightly hand-claps and ramshackle buildups land closer to the stompy revivalism of 2000s acts like the Walkmen and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. Alongside breezy "Landlady," the minimal beginning of "One Big Sigh" offers a ready breathing room. Halfway through the track, carnival theatrics kick in and you're back in the thrall.