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on 2 August 2013
I've seen Theme Park live a couple of times and enjoyed them enormously on both occasions. The last time I was struck by how much more confident they seemed and that they really seemed like a band destined for great things.
Sadly, it seems they acquit themselves rather less well on record. Their debut CD seems to be hurriedly recorded, under-produced and poorly mixed. The vocals, in particular, tend to be frustratingly buried in the mix or unforgivingly over-exposed leaving the record seeming more like a demo than the finished article.
All this said, after a few listens familiarity renders the mix less jarring and the quality of the tracks rises to the surface. At this point there are more hits than misses - I particularly enjoy "Jamaica", "Tonight", "Wax" and "Ghosts" balanced by "Los Chikas" which shows the poor vocal mix of the attempted Beach Boys harmonies at its weakest.
Hopefully the budget for the next Theme Park record will allow them to make a more polished CD. For now this record, whilst enjoyable, does nothing to capture the charm and energy of the band's live performances, which is a real shame.