GRMLN (aka Yoodoo Park), delivers his debut long player ‘EMPIRE’, filled with upbeat rock ‘n’ roll and ‘90s pop-punk. The second release under the GRMLN moniker for the Japanese -born, California-raised, Yoodoo Park, certainly demonstrates bigger, more sophisticated musical ambitions. Wanting to capture the sound of a live band, Park recorded the album with his brother Tae San Park on bass, and friend Keith Frerichs on drums, resulting in a much more rock-driven sound than the more dream-pop-oriented, inclinations of solo EP ‘Explore’.
The record’s energy and brevity translated to a concise recording process, the nine songs (all but two are under three minutes) were recorded and mixed in a span of five days at Different Fur Studios in San Francisco with Patrick Brown and Sean Paulson (Toro Y Moi’s Anything In Return).
Despite its references to 90’s pop punk, ‘EMPIRE’ manages to sound nostalgic and relatively fresh at the same time. Album opener and lead single, ‘Teenage Rhythm’, sets the tone, while album standout ‘Hand Pistol’ is a catchy mix of polished-up Superchunk and a poppier Jimmy Eat World. There’s also ‘Cheer Up’ with its ‘50s-style chord progression and climactic and fiery plea of ‘Don’t break me down!’
Lyrically, EMPIRE is a look into 20-year-old Yoodoo’s head as he deals with growing up and the notion of how that complicates relationships. Noting that while writing the album, he matured out of a phase of naïveté, consequently becoming disillusioned with love. “I see the world going by without me/ it’s just the way that I’m moving back to you,” he sings on ‘Blue Lagoon’.
What the critics are saying:
"One of the biggest sounds in indie rock these days is, weirdly enough, indie rock from the 1990s: straightforward, punk-infused three-chord rock with big hooks and fuzzbox all over everything. Southern California's GRMLN has that formula nailed." – Esquire
"Park found the formula for adolescent energy and tapped directly into it…Park’s songwriting is nothing if not confident, energetic, and pop aware. - Consequence of Sound
"On Empire, his second release under the GRMLN moniker, Park certainly demonstrates bigger, more sophisticated musical ambitions." – Exclaim
"While even those fond of the '90s revival may be close to overdosing on nostalgia, Empire offers a fresh enough take to make it worth a listen." - All Music
‘EMPIRE’ will be released through Stop Start Friday 26th July
First single ‘Teenage Rhythm’ is at radio now.