It’s funny that Cale Parks spent the majority of this summer touring with Passion Pit, as the member of Aloha seems in an entirely different league altogether on his latest, the Swift Mars EP, which is out now on Polyvinyl Records. As a musician, he most well known as a drummer, but his usage of electronics and layering on this EP tells a story of a different sort.
We’re first presented with “Eyes Wont Shut,” a precursor to the electronic features on this album. While the music doesn’t sound too far from many of his peers around the park, his stalled delivery of vocals here actually strengthens the beats beneath the track. A warm chorus breaks into a throwback glam-dance as the song sparkles to and fro, until it comes to an end.
On “Knight Conversation” we find his understated vocals accompanied by a female counterpart. While the music here isn’t entirely out of this world amazing, it does just enough to push the song to its focal point, which definitely has to revolve around the vocal duets going back and forth. The strength of the song lies in this recipe.
“Crystal Air” hits the album at its peak. Here we see Cale layering just as we know he does best. Simple progressing piano walks along the song itself, with various electronic atmospherics entering from stage left. Although you might strain to hear the vocals at some points on the song, and the album for that matter, you are definitely drawn into his barroom persona, somewhere between Sinatara and Patrick Wolf. “One at a Time” supposedly is the single from the album, but it isn’t as pronounced as a winner as some of the previously mentioned tracks. Vocals sort of seem drawn out, and somewhat secondary. It’s just not a strong effort, and an odd choice for a single.
“We Can Feel It” closes out the EP with a swirling set of combined noises, from steady drums to the bursting of bubbles as they boil. It’s a new setting for the album, somewhat reminiscent of a more experimental Grizzly Bear, minus the remarkable vocals harmonies. As it ends, you can’t help but think that Cale Parks has a clear path ahead of him to break new ground and accomplish great things as his musical career continues to blossom before us.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/01-eyes-wont-shut.mp3]
Download: Cale Parks – Eyes Wont Shut [MP3]