For about the last two years, Theme Park have been celebrated on many 'ones to watch' lists and been given the thumbs up by Radio 1 DJs, such as Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens, who; unlike many of their colleagues are renowned for having good radars on upcoming bands that are about to break. The band also being associated with artists such as Cajun Dance Party and Bombay Bicycle Club (their old school chums) presented them with big shoes to step into. However, I think it's fair to say that the greatly anticipated debut album from Theme Park isn't that much to celebrate.
The album first invites you in with 'Big Dream'; sure, the track isn't exactly going to set any concert venues on fire, neither is it the most spine-tingling song that 2013 has offered so far but it forms a low expectation for the rest of the album, which therefore enables you to receive a moderately pleasant surprise as you listen on. It begins with some simple drum taps and guitar strums but even when a reasonably funky bassline appears the track just fails to really get going. Miles Haughton's vocals seem somewhat languid and adds to the song's rather lethargic feel that presents a kind of 'can't be bothered' attitude.
On the other hand, the album does occasionally show sparks of promise through tracks like 'Two Hours.' Again like many of the songs on the album Two Hours is quite slow to start. It begins with a beat that could make your shoulders dance and sway and maybe get your foot tapping then at 1:11 someone suddenly decides to hit the drums a bit harder and faster. This unexpected release of energy soon permits your whole body to get moving and you find yourself joining Miles as his voice strains "can you feel anything?" Another highlight comes from the recently released single 'Tonight' which provides a refreshing summery sound that is possibly well and truly needed throughout this miserable time of the season.
To begin with Saccades (Lines We Delay) just sounds like an uninspiring attempt at an electronic sort of psychedelic backing track. Then at about 2:08 it's almost as if the song puts down it's cigarette, gets up off the couch and says "do you know what, I think I might actually make an effort." and starts to have a cheeky little dance. Then at 3:12 just fully decides to throw itself into a wild dance routine. Perhaps if Theme Park had just of been another new band with their quirky and welcoming groove they would of emancipated a breath of fresh air into the forever growing music industry. Unfortunately, at the moment it still seems that they are standing in the shadows of their old school mates, if only they could stop playing catch up on other artists' trails and lead a race of their own.