One of my favorite albums of the year, “Laughing Shadow” by Yoodoo Park, who performs under the name GRMLN, was released on Friday, and it features even more great songs in a discography that’s already filled to the brim.
The guitars feel more chiming than usual and show some great use of effects, like the chorus on the rhythm guitar in “Old Days” or the delay in “Glass.”
“Old Days” is probably my favorite song on the album, with the speed of the drums somehow coalescing with the aforementioned rhythm guitar’s slower riff.
The bridge of “Glass” is particularly chime-y and makes for a beautiful musical interlude, offering an oasis between the beginning and ends of the song.
Early single “Another Turning Car” opens the record and has a great chorus that features a second guitar playing over a simple, solid rhythm riff. The guitar interplay is my favorite thing about Park’s songwriting, as he starts so many songs with a melancholy six-string and then introduces another over the top that always brings choruses together.
There’s something to be said for Park’s vocals, too. The harmonies on “Los Angels” make it a standout on a packed record. That song is a great example of how much ear candy Park can squeeze into his short songs that usually don’t go beyond three minutes. He doesn’t let the rhythm section dominate, yet the bass playing on a song like “Sandcastle” is arguably the most notable thing, possibly due to the off-kilter beginning, where the guitar comes in a split second after the bass riff introduces the song.
Park indulges in the old GRMLN sound, a punchier more direct guitar style, for “Destructive Surfer,” yet another track where the chorus is made by another great lead guitar riff.
As always, the album art for both “Laughing Shadow” and all its singles is incredible, with most of the singles featuring photographs of Park himself, and others featuring artwork, most notably the cover of the record.
I knew from all the singles and from previous experience anticipating GRMLN records that I wouldn’t be disappointed, and I was right. In terms of how prolific he is, and given the quality of all of his recent releases, it’s safe to say GRMLN is one of the most underrated rock artists right now. Not only are fans gifted with great music, but they also get new records almost twice a year. The newest installment is no exception.
Ryan Meyer is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 581-2812.