Death in the Park – Death in the Park
Record Label: End Sounds
Release Date: August 24, 2010 (digital) / September 14, 2010 (physical)
After releasing their self-titled EP in October 2008, Death in the Park (fronted by Andy Jackson of Hot Rod Circuit and now Terrible Things) garnered a multitude of fans still in love with Jackson’s emotional vocals and heartfelt lyrics. However, after waiting two years and finding out about Jackson’s new collaborative project, Terrible Things, it appeared that a follow-up to the EP would not happen. That is, until now, and sure enough, Death in the Park was worth the wait. After sharing the mic with Fred Mascherino on supergroup Terrible Things’ debut self-titled album, it’s time for Andy Jackson to shine on his own again, and he does so skillfully.
There’s no question that Jackson knows how to write a captivating hook and chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. The man is incredibly versatile and talented, able to write both an upbeat summer hit one track and then make the next track have a completely different feel, full of anxiety and hostility (“Laws Of Motion” followed by “Move To The Beat”). Guitarists Ronnie Gardner and Derrick Karg also accompany the change in moods effectively as well. Not only can Death in the Park change moods with each change in track, they’re able to incorporate different feelings in a single track over Jackson’s soaring vocals, shown on “How Much Is Too Much.”
Although every song on their previous EP appears again on this debut full-length, the tracks are still just as good as before and the rest of the album makes up for the identical nature of these tracks. In fact, the first three tracks of the record all appeared on the EP. While this at first will seem a hindrance, just wait until Jackson’s emotion drives opener “Pitifully Exposed,” making listeners fall in love with the track yet again. Although the following tracks “Fallen” and “Do You Want Me Now” both appeared on the EP, “Fallen” is revamped this time around. Still present are Jackson’s addicting “oh-oh-ohs” over Paramore’s Hayley Williams paralleling vocals; however, this time the track is turned up to ten with whirling guitars complimenting the dual vocals wonderfully. Yes, the track is yet again a highlight, and yes, as always Williams sounds great and even outshines Jackson at points.
Don’t be fooled; Death in the Park isn’t all upbeat poppy tunes, as the aggression and angst behind “Laws Of Nature” and later “The Runaround” covey the diversity of Death in the Park’s sound. Nonetheless, the upbeat tracks are of course ever-present, as “Move To The Beat” and “Sway” will surely get stuck in your head and blasted in car stereos before the warm weather fades to fall. “Sway” is in fact hands down the catchiest song on the record due to The Starting Line’s Kenny Vasoli’s addition on the track as they sing “sway with me as we captivate this moment / come away with me / we’ll create a constellation”.
The acoustic “Oh You Know” has a straightforward approach different than any other track on the album as Jackson sings about growing up over soft guitars, allowing his vocals to be the highlight and standout of this track. “Oh You Know” flows seamlessly into the ultimate “Walk Away,” a track that is comprised of each strength of Death in the Park – the perfect closer to Death in the Park. After two years of waiting, this track alone makes DITP worth every minute of waiting. With this record, Death in the Park prove that good things take time, as the final result is a superb pop-rock record full of diversity and authentic sentiment.