Beyond Playlist: Cale Parks

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Cale Parks To Swift Mars Polyvinyl

Taking elements of synth pop, fusing them to slowed-down, house-leaning rhythms and singing over the whole thing in a fey voice is a pretty decent formula for success these days. It's a formula Cale Parks works with some skill as both a composer and arranger on To Swift Mars, a just-released six-song EP. The songs themselves are subtle and perhaps a little too laid back for their own good. The best, "One at a Time," is easily the most energetic. Another standout is "Eyes Won't Shut" which is a bit like what George Harrison might have produced had he gone house-influenced electro-pop after the Beatles, and it's also one of the more uptempo numbers. Throughout, there are lots of little touches that shine like diamonds -- from subtle touches of vocoder here, hook-filled bass lines there -- albeit perhaps not quite enough such moments overall. What's there is good, but there could be something more -- more energy, a few more surprises, something. The entire disc is begging for the remix treatment and it would be fascinating to see what someone like Matthew Dear could turn these tracks into. That's not to say that they're bad - they aren't. But as much as they grow on you with each listen - and this is definitely a release that requires a few listens to really sink in -- they all seem to fall a little short of great.

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