Chicagoland emo project Park National cuts its own path in sparklepunk | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Chicagoland emo project Park National cuts its own path in sparklepunk 

click to enlarge Park National

Park National

Adeline Galich

Chicagoland multi-instrumentalist Liam Fagan is 18: young enough to treat emo bands who are still establishing themselves (particularly critical darlings Oso Oso) as aesthetic polestars, but also old enough to legally get the name of one of his favorite albums (the Hotelier’s Goodness) tattooed on his arm. As the mastermind and sole musician behind Park National, Fagan has figured out how to cut his own path in emo. The project’s recent debut, The Big Glad (self-released via Fagan’s P Natty Records), relies on pop-punk propulsion, glistening loop-the-loop guitars, and enough hyperactive hooks to enrapture the most distractible listener—in other words, it ticks all the boxes for the emo subcategory known as sparklepunk. Though Fagan leans heavily on the subgenre’s basic components, even his sloppiest melodies and quietest passages get an extra bump of personality from his youthful debonair streak—which also intensifies the feeling that he’s onto something new. On “The Key,” Fagan sings about interpersonal friction in terms vague enough that virtually everyone has wrestled with something similar, and his unvarnished, aggrieved vocals might speak straight to you if you’ve ever had a falling out with a confidant.   v

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