Lena Park fuses fresh sounds on new EP
Female vocalist Lena Park, best known for her powerful and moving ballads, has returned with the upbeat three-track EP “Syncrofusion,” featuring a fresh style and sounds that fuse electronic and pop-rock melodies with Park’s distinctive vocals.
The lead single “Double Kiss,” an energetic and exuberant dance track, deviates drastically from Park’s usual musical style. Decorated by funky guitar riffs played by Paul Jackson Jr., who participated in the making of Daft Punk’s recent album “Random Access Memories,” “Double Kiss” presents a playful and rhythmic electronic tune. The song seems to have nailed Park’s goal -- which the singer mentioned during media interviews held prior to the EP’s release -- of “doing a fun song that was different.” However, it may seem a bit foreign to listeners accustomed to Park’s ballads.
The second track, “Dream Sphere,” is, as its title suggests, a calm and dreamy synth-pop melody sung entirely in English and written by Park herself. “Catch me if you think I’m falling and I need some saving / You be my hero white knight and all,” sings Park with ease and passion.
The final track, “Next Year,” is a slow-tempo ballad that returns to Park’s usual musical colors. With simple instrumentals, Park sincerely reflects on the changing state of a long-term romantic relationship: “The next year, I got scared / that you will disappear and become an illusion.” The song ends on a confessional note as Park asks, “I want to become one with you, not just a part of you / Will we eventually be able to live together? / Into the next year and the year after...”
With her new EP, Park seems to have touched on many genres, truly living up to the EP’s title of “synchronizing” and “fusing” diverse sounds, all the while sustaining her distinctive vocal colors.
(firstname.lastname@example.org)British singer Passenger falls short on new album
Mike Rosenberg, the man behind the inescapable breakup ballad “Let Her Go,” is out with a new album that is full of songs that sounds an awful lot like his breakthrough pop hit.
Rosenberg, the British singer-songwriter who performs under the moniker Passenger, has a wonderfully natural voice and his touching guitar approach remains adorable. But there are no gems on “Whispers,” and his fifth solo album comes off as little more than a rote display of comfort-level songwriting.
“Coins in a Fountain” challenges the senses right off the bat, opting for an odd blend of world-beat styled percussion and rhythm. The song is full of painfully corny similes dished out in rapid-fire succession. And on the title track, Rosenberg longs for bits of solitude in a world filled with too much of, well, everything. But the poignant message is buried under layer after layer of instruments.
Rosenberg, 30, reached international success when his 2012 song “Let Her Go” became a surprise hit late last year, peaking at No. 5 in America and selling close to 4 million tracks. His new album, though, seems to borrow too much from what made him a recognizable name, and that’s unfortunate.
The singer shines on the single “Heart’s on Fire.” It’s a heart-wrenching song about a love torn apart and one person’s patience in hoping it will return. Rosenberg sings like he’s been there -- and means every word. (AP)Jack White goes country on second solo CD
Jack White’s second solo album is steeped in tones of his adopted hometown, Nashville. Lighthearted piano, sprightly fiddle and soulful slide guitar lend a country twang to most of the 11 tracks.
White is more open musically on “Lazaretto” than any of his previous works, whether with the White Stripes, Raconteurs, Dead Weather or solo. He shares the vocal spotlight with fiddler-singer Lillie Mae Rische and Ruby Amanfu, who belongs to the Peacocks, an all-female band that backed White while touring for his first solo album, 2012’s “Blunderbuss.”
The Dead Weather-esque title single heralds the new album perfectly: a blend of White’s signature guitar-heavy blues rock seasoned with some folksy charm in the form of a violin solo.
Where “Blunderbuss” explored love and loss, “Lazaretto” is more about love and loneliness. Parlor piano opens an ode to solitary life, “Alone in My Home.” A country fiddle cries at the beginning of “Temporary Ground,” about life’s fleeting nature.
White does the crying and lets his distorted guitar do the talking on “High Ball Stepper.” Harmonica, organ and piano join in on another rocker, the boastful romp “Three Women” -- the album’s only track White didn’t write alone; he shares credit with late blues guitarist Blind Willie McTell.
At 38, firmly rooted in rock’s lexicon and surrounded by Nashville’s rich musical history, White stretches out on “Lazaretto” and leaves his future wide open. (AP)