Kern Parks – Elephant (Beth Shalom Records)

Kern Parks – Elephant (Beth Shalom Records)

Nottingham-born, London-based songwriter Kern Parks has released a first single through Beth Shalom Records moving his style toward solid but beautiful alt-pop.

Kern Parks by Esther Booley

Artist: Kern Parks
Track: Elephant
Label: Beth Shalom Records
Released: 7 August 2020
Find it: Bandcamp | Spotify

As we slide through summer and into the shorter days of a spent 2020 there are so many elephants in the societal room we share it is getting hard to move without being faced with grey. Monumental problems that are here right now, and which are coming down the line, cause each of us to face something negative. The world is fucked and none of us want to talk about it.

While the broad herd of issues remain unaddressed in Elephant, the first single from Kern Parks for Beth Shalom, some specific and personal pachyderms have light shone on them. On Bandcamp the track is described as: “Elephant is an exploration of Kern Parks’ past, examining experiences that shape his present day. Everyone has their ‘Elephant in the room’ that needs addressing, with Kern’s being rumination.”

That rumination is soaked through the song. This track melodically gives us the twists, turns, gradual realisations and huge jumps our thoughts can take. It has the depth to illuminate the idea the smallest detail of something which happened years ago can suddenly now become the key to an understanding now.

‘Tell me your secrets / And I’ll swallow them whole’

As it reveals itself with hissing beats and an evolving vocal melody it shows us how everything leaves a fingerprint which shapes us for better or worse. What opens as a standard piece of alt-pop becomes somewhat more in Parks’ hands as the strumming changes pace, the beats become rounded in the second half of the track and the harmonies sweep in to give a soothing backdrop to an anxious lyrical flow.

Coming off the back of a couple of self-released singles this is Parks’ – the alias of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kieran Alexander – first with a label, and in a deliberate move in his sound. He says he is ‘committed to creating a fresh identity for his music, and to push himself to expand on his influences’ and with Elephant he wakes from reverb-drenched dreampop to a more exposed, but still intricate and fascinating cleaner alt-pop sound.

Elephant is out now digitally or on ‘order to cut’ lathe cut 7″ via Beth Shalom Records.

  • Image by Esther Booley.

Find Kern Parks: Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | Bandcamp

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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