When I first read about Martin Parks and how they described their music, I have to say I had really high expectations. Mentions of iconic Civil Rights Movement figures Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, of the importance of creating a unique sound as well as inspiring and uplifting people really appealed to me and made me want to find out more about those young artists.
After several listens of Thankful For Sound, I have to say I am still not 100% sure about exactly how I feel about the album and it seems that every time I listen to the tracks, my thoughts change and my impressions are now quite blurred. The thing that bugs me here is that some of the tracks sound way too mainstream to my ears, as they are more used to original productions and lyrics than “catchy” sonorities and hooks. But as I said earlier, this sensation tends to vary and maybe what I am perceiving as an attempt to follow a trend is actually a desire to create an innovative and groundbreaking sound. In any case, those tracks I am not entirely feeling can’t undermine the fact that others are great, which makes the album somewhat inconsistent but most definitely worth checking out.
[wpaudio url=”http://wordisbond.data.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/03-Nightmares-feat.-Vohn-Lewis-Da-Skohlar.mp3″ text=”Martin Parks – Nightmares feat. Vohn Lewis Da Skohlar” dl=”0″]
What I definitely appreciate with Thankful For Sound is the great, youthful energy as well as the positive and uplifting dimension, which is most obvious when MC Roman and singer Jacque express their thoughts and feelings about such themes as love, life and freedom. This is when I can find something to relate to, when I don’t wonder whether I am already too old and becoming more selective with the music I listen to. Despite their young age, Martin Parks have an interesting outlook on society and music, they provide us with some beautiful love songs (Never Too Much (So What) is among my favourites) but also food for thought with deeper lyrics about modern slavery (We the Slaves, with a beautiful hook reminiscing of their captive ancestors’ chants). Other tracks that stand out for me are those encouraging people to keep fighting and pushing until they reach the place they want to find themselves in (Freedom, Making a Way).
[wpaudio url=”http://wordisbond.data.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/11-Freedom.mp3″ text=”Martin Parks – Freedom” dl=”0″]
As an appreciator of hip-hop, soul and jazz, I have to say that on the whole I was more impressed with the quality of Jacque’s vocals than with Roman’s rhyme and flow, which may also put the tracks where the singer shines most among my favourites (including the short but beautiful The Hustle Song, A Prayer and Share the Love). Those are the strongest here and allow Martin Parks to make their jazz influences most obvious. This is not to say that the hip-hop/soul/jazz combination doesn’t work, I just feel things could have been a bit more balanced. What also reinforces this tribute to jazz is the perfect use of horns throughout the project, which blend with the beats quite well most of the time. As I mentioned earlier, some of the production on here isn’t completely to my taste, but I have to underline the innovative aspects of some of the tracks, sometimes ending up as a hit and miss but that works very well at others (the perfect example would be Martin Parks Chillin’).
[wpaudio url=”http://wordisbond.data.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/13-Martin-Parks-Chillin.mp3″ text=”Martin Parks – Martin Parks Chillin” dl=”0″]
Thankful For Sound is one of those albums that has the potential to grow on me as a whole or may be listened to more selectively, but it definitely has some qualities and shouldn’t be slept on. Martin Parks are creative, innovative and inspiring, three qualities that will clearly help them appeal to a wide range of people and I am sure they have quite an interesting future laying in front of them. That’s all I wish for the duo.
[easyreview title=”Word Is Bond Rating” cat1title=”Lyrics” cat1detail=”SOME INSIGHTFUL ANALYSIS AND INSPIRING MESSAGES” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Production” cat2detail=”VERY NICE JAZZ INFLUENCES, SOUNDING A BIT ALL OVER THE PLACE AT TIMES” cat2rating=”3″ cat3title=”Originality” cat3detail=”SOME INNOVATIVE ASPECTS, AN OBVIOUS DESIRE TO CREATE UNIQUE MUSIC AND STAND OUT” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Replayability” cat4detail=”PROBABLY DIFFICULT TO PUT THE WHOLE ALBUM ON REPEAT” cat4rating=”2″ summary=”AN ALBUM THAT SOUNDS A BIT INCONSISTENT BUT DOES HAVE MERITS, DESERVES A LISTEN”]