Hailing from Oxfordshire, Park Motive are a genre-bending, experimental electronic outfit, spearheaded by a well-mannered vocalist, backed up by drums of all sorts (both acoustic and drum machines), crazy synthesisers and lush backing vocals. Today I’ve chosen to indulge in their latest offering, “Duuust”, which comes in the form of an exhilarating four track EP.
The first track on this record is “Oval Frame”, and it immediately places Park Motive in the ballpark of Animal Collective / Panda Bear, with the tribal rhythms in the background and the addition of the airy vocals & backing vocals on top - it’s a very nostalgic sound! Those near-dissonant notes on whatever sort of synth mallet they’re playing is really doing it for me too, and the song structure really helps the entire band build up to a climax before fizzling out right at the end. The sonic landscape on this track could’ve been shifted to allow the vocals to sit more comfortably above the rest of the band, yet on the other hand the monotony of the lyrics almost transforms the entire song into a single-lane motorway, it’s an interesting production style.
There’s a complete shift of vibe on “Undark”, the next song on the EP. The lyrics sit slightly off beat with the rest of the song, and the vocal delivery is much more dramatic too. Funnily enough, it took me two listens to notice, but some really sweet acoustic drums come in about halfway through this song, layered on top of the drum machine at the start. It’s a fantastic touch and allows for a more interesting rhythmic pattern for the band to follow. I’m also a massive fan of the synths on this track, they’re beautifully orchestrated and once again are able to build and build without compromising originality within the song itself.
I love songs that begin with disjointed rhythms, tricking you into thinking that the drop will fall into a traditional beat. Park Motive does it different. On “Incident”, the way the keyboard comes in first displaces it against the drumbeat that follows, creating this jarring feeling until we reach an uplifting key change before the sub-bass and drums section of the song at around 1:30. And the textures in this song! The blend of coarser synths and soft pads is well executed and was one of the first things I noticed in this song, then when the drums break into the track it feels like the entire thing is flipped on it’s head, you’re nearly getting two songs for the price of one here…
And finally, we reach “Phantom”, a sprawling, six-and-a-half minute belter, a great example of track placement as it’s the perfect ender to this EP. Those synths at the start truly pack a punch, maybe because they’re so staccato and high pitch, too - but they’re also a great tension building tool. The vocals on this track take you on a fun, in-depth story, and compliment the instrumental. At a halfway point this drum flip is brought in once again - it’s a fun trick but I’m left wondering if perhaps something more subtle could’ve been done for this one, if anything to avoid repetition. The drums do, however, lend themselves to this drum & bass type structure and sound. If you look at the track from a much more electronic point of view, the band have managed to present it to the listener in a canon arrangement, a constant buildup with peaks and troughs within itself.
Overall great EP, there’s nothing much like this out there at the moment. It’s inspiring to hear someone still producing fresh material, and I’m excited to hear what Park Motive have in store for us next.
You can find Park Motive here.
You can listen to the EP here.
You can find us here.