Mike Park - North Hangook Falling (Cover Artwork)

Mike Park

North Hangook Falling (2005)

Sub City

It's been two and a half weeks or so since the latest Mike Park solo effort was released. Honestly, as soon as I got it, I wanted to review it just as a way to promote; since I know Mike Park is all about the small promotion, I shall do just that.

Now, I'm sure anyone who follows 90's ska is aware of who Mike Park is: former front-man of the legendary Skankin' Pickle, also the lesser-known Chinkees and the Bruce Lee Band. He now runs his own label, Asian Man Records, which was home to many big acts around today, including Alkaline Trio, the Lawrence Arms, and Less Than Jake to just name a few. But it took him a while to go out on his own, and in 2003 he released For The Love Of Music, which I purchased at the beginning of this summer. I was instantly hooked, so when I heard he was coming out with another album, I was really excited. It is now in my possession and I must say it is an A+ disc.

Instead of just Park and an acoustic guitar and a few guest musicians, this time around he recruited the uber-talented members of Chicago emo jazz / math rock geniuses, Colossal. This album, thanks to Colossal has a much different feel, less bouncy, more mature sounding. I can't really say the same for Mike's lyrics; though open-minded and always profound, they are rather simple, but then again, I guess that is the appeal of singalong acoustic anthems he is accustomed to writing. Each song contains some sincerity to something, whether it's politics, relationships, or riding bikes, there's something sincere here for everyone. The real standout track on the CD would have to be the last song, which is a live track called "Blue Marble," and has one of the best politically-charged lyrics; same goes for "Is It Safe For Me To Go Outside?"

Another important element that made the last album so good was the use of the cello; I am a huge fan of this instrument, so naturally as soon as I hear it I fall in love, and Mike uses it perfectly on this album, and unlike the last CD it is used more often, which makes it even better.

This is a really strong release, and I suggest people should go give it a listen; you might want to get his debut release first, but shortly after listening to it go out and buy this one. Then after that, go pick up a Colossal album or anything from Asian Man's ever-growing catalogue of top notch acts.