"Tickling The Dragon's Tail"
July 15, 2014 - Bad Timing
Park were an interesting anomaly among the mid-2000s emo lot. After lingering amid the local Midwest circuit in the late ’90s and early 2000s before finding a musical sweet spot on 2003's It Won't Snow Where You're Going, they provided a darker underground alternative to powerhouse acts of the time like Armor For Sleep and Matchbook Romance while retaining the nasal timbre and heart-on-sleeve themes. Their first new music in seven years, the band have rolled out a project far more ambitious than they ever were during their original run. Jacob The Rabbit is a prologue EP to a full-length based on a story written by frontman Ladd Mitchell, with an anthropomorphic bunny at its center; think mewithoutYou's recent conceptual albums, but influenced by Richard Adams' Watership Down—rather clearly, actually, based on a character from that novel providing a name to the second track's title. (The entire part of this story is already online.) The music on the EP does a fair job matching its ambitious literary scale as well. After a post-punk tinged opening, "Lepus Fugam" fully kicks in like a riffy appropriation of a band somewhere on the other end of the emo spectrum during Park's heyday: Saosin. Its chorus hits with radio-tailored heights too, with a glossy earnestness that's surprisingly bigger than anything else in their already sizable catalog. Though Mitchell's adenoidal voice can scale some rattling heights at times, the complicated rhythms, guitar theatrics out of a Minus The Bear record and challenging song structures make Jacob The Rabbit a keen appetite whetter and interesting return from a band who had certainly seemed like they'd already said it all.