“we’re slaves to adoration, your place is hard to come by…”
90’s toned Goth pop / post punk / synth pop will hopefully always be around and while a lot of current musical outfits get it wrong (in my humble opinion), those that get it right do so because they somehow embody the sound and textures in what feels like a natural way instead of trope-ifying the sounds.
Listening to the endearingly cool “Without Reserve” by Portland’s Sex Park and from their “upcoming full length record (Dowd Records 2022) featuring the band exploring territory from Acid House to Italo Disco and even sampling opera, all while retaining their irresistible, distinctive synth pop sound” and you literally feel the sonic nucleic acid from the late 80’s and 90’s. Some current artists try to hard to re-capture that aesthetic but Sex Park just are, their sense does not feel over-reaching because they don’t have to. For one thing, the overall mix and synth tones are drop dead gorgeous and spot on. Daniel Blumenthal’s (guitar/vox) vocal aesthetic that exists somewhere between Ian Curtis and Andrew Eldritch has the right blend of angst, boring and brooding hope. The synth lines and beats courtesy of Paul Burkhart pulsate and ascend in beautiful ways and Colin Buckley’s (along with Blumenthal) guitar work feels romantic, plucky and floating. You feel the descending stair stepping reminiscent of The Cure but not so much as to feel taken but inspired by.
I look forward to the upcoming album and plunging into some of the Sex Park songs that got past me. Oh, and a warning, don’t search Sex Park with the young ones around. I guess that is self explanatory but I wanted to share it just the same (smiling).
-Robb Donker Curtius
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THE FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM – PRESS NOTES:
Sex Park was formed in winter 2015/2016 by Daniel Blumenthal and Paul Burkhart, who were brought together by a mutual love of post-punk, synth pop, and 90’s dance music, as well as more modern forms like trap and grime. Burkhart’s minimal drum programming and melodic synth lines were a great foil for Blumenthal’s deep croon and technical, spasmodic guitar riffs.
Their self-released cassette and digital ep quickly sold out and earned them fans in their home town of Portland, Oregon and worldwide. The band quickly became an essential part of the local darkwave scene, playing high-profile gigs and local post-punk impresario Dave Cantrell’s “Out From the Shadows” festival. It was there they formed a friendship with Denver, Colorado’s Voight (a terrific shoegaze/postpunk duo), who would release Sex Park’s debut LP “Atrium” on their Vacant Decade label. The songs on Atrium cherry-pick from a variety of influences, from classic EBM, 80’s and 90’s synth pop, raw distorted synth punk, and even dub. “Dignity” charges forward on a Roland Juno bassline and thumping beat, topped with Blumenthal’s cerebral lyrics and insist guitar. “Rhyme or Reason” contains a synth flute hook and a memorable chorus that wink knowingly at Depeche Mode.
Guitarist Colin Buckley joined the band to accompany them on a West Coast tour to support Atrium, his elegant playing adding a dreamy new dimension to the band’s sound. Stops on the tour included Vancouver, BC’s Verboden Festival and Los Angeles’s Part Time Punks, both of which are celebrated post-punk institutions.
In July 2020, Sex Park released “Rose Absolute” their first single as a trio and the first single from their upcoming 2022 full length LP. Produced and recorded by Jeremy Wilkins (We Are Parasols), the song is a leap forward for the electronics and guitar sound of the band. Beneath the upbeat, tuneful music (that wouldn’t feel out of place on “Violator”), there is a muted sadness to the track that speaks to the emotional and musical growth of the group during quarantine.
“Obligation” – the second single from the forthcoming Sex Park album – is being released on streaming and limited edition vinyl on August 20th. Haunting synth strings dance over an uptempo, punchy beat, complemented by fluid, dream pop guitar while Blumenthal paints a vitriolic picture of relationships stunted by modern technology.
The single is releasing with a visually stunning music video from Neu Caligula.
Sex Park’s upcoming full length record (Dowd Records 2022) features the band exploring territory from Acid House to Italo Disco and even sampling opera, all while retaining their irresistible, distinctive synth pop sound.
** At this particular time we find ourselves in a financial pinch due to many factors. We want to keep AP going. It has been a passion project for over 13 years. PLEASE consider donating, we could really use the support. Thanks so much
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Sex Park, “Without Reserve”, Portland, Oregon, synth pop, 90’s post punk, Goth pop, indie rock, alt rock, retro post punk, 80’s new wave, 90’s, gorgeous sound, Roland Juno, Daniel Blumenthal, Paul Burkhart,