Guitar music is dead, proper British bands are done-for and dance music reigns, right? Three lads from London beg to differ.
Theme Park released their self-titled debut via Transgressive at the end of last month. It is an album that seems to have taken a long time to appear, since the wonderful ‘Jamaica’ surfaced all that time ago. But there is something almost refreshing about this careful approach and it has paid off. There are peaks and troughs, but the record feels thorough and complete and displays how comfortable the Londoners are in the sound they are championing.
Comparisons with Friendly Fires and The Maccabees are understandable, but don’t quite tell the full story; there is something more fun, as their name suggests, about Theme Park.
A full UK tour supporting the album has followed, and a hometown show at Heaven was always going to be a sell-out. The smoked-filled arches burst with the eclectic mix they attract, the lights soon fade and LCD Soundsystem’s indie classic ‘All My Friends’ blasts out to set the tone.
The aforementioned ‘Jamaica’ flies out early in the set, sounding even more summery and joyous in this live setting. It gets the swarms of fans moving, as arms fly up and full-on dancing dominates the front of the room; the track remains one of their best and is a definite highlight. Similarly, ‘Wax’ stands-out after a few slightly less exciting numbers, which remind us that it is still relatively early days in the young band’s life. This having been said, they are a brilliantly tight unit and their relaxed onstage aura is completely charming.
There is something strangely refreshing about the regular appearance of three intertwining guitars, in a time when electronic instrumentation is in favour, but intelligent application of synthesised beats keeps their sound current and relevant.
The best thing about Theme Park, and particularly their live performance, is its youthful happiness. The sound they create feels like the soundtrack to a teenage house party and it’s undeniably fun. ‘Tonight’ is the best example; feeling like the track people are waiting for, it does not disappoint and wraps up the set perfectly.
The band mingle with excitable fans after the show as well, which acknowledges their obvious appreciation, as photos are posed for and tickets are autographed. It is a touching part of the evening and adds further smiles to an entirely heart-warming show. There’s plenty more to come from this band and they are undoubtedly one of the leading lights in the guitar-music revival many seem to desperately crave. One thing’s for sure though – as long as Theme Park exist it certainly isn’t dead.