Pulse Park – Phonac Music album review

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Honestly, I don’t know what happened to the indie circuit in the last decade. Since time immemorial, major record labels always catered to popular tastes releasing music that was trendy, easy and not demanding. Its purpose was not to get you to think, but have fun, relax and enjoy the good times. It was up to the smaller, independent players to deliver music that was more artsy, serious, that dealt with social and economic changes. Every record that defined a new genre came out of the underground before it was appreciated by a wilder public. Sadly, those days are long gone. Nowadays, the established independent record labels behave like Sony or Universal – spitting out manufactured acts with millions of pounds in their pockets and links to the biggest PR or managerial companies. The tab is picked up by really tiny, sometimes one-person run labels that despite everything, want the good, ambitious music to go out in the world. Oh boy, they do deliver! This year, we had a pleasure of listening to the releases form Blaggers Records, Vandalism Begins @ Home and now Shore Dive Records. And while Blaggers and Vandalism fly the flag for the more radio friendly acts, Shore Dive are going full avantgarde.

I have to admit, we never head of Pulse Park before. It was only after we reviewed Skuund about a month ago that we took a closer look at the Shore Dive catalogue and discovered another gem. Pulse Park probably have the most original bio we ever received and after reading it, we knew we have to review their album. The whole idea behind this project is so novel, we will give a tenner to any other act if they can beat a trip to the Arctic and working with Canadian First Nations.

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Cover Image taken from „La Rentrée“ with kind permission of Montréal based artist, Richard Morin

Official bio: It started as an idea. Now they’re Justin Trudeau’s favourite rock band. The three band members first met some time ago on an Arctic expedition in Qikiqtaaluk, Nunavut/Canada, and started learning their instruments during the long polar nights. These were ukuleles that they traded dry fruits for with the Inuit. After the successful introduction of a breeding program for bowhead whales, the band decided to go back to Germany. But unfortunately, before this could happen, huskies escaped with their belongings, so the guys had to get by playing street music in Canada’s pedestrian zones, singing about the Great White North. Songs all about the cold, the dark, cod-liver oil and not forgetting the white Arctic hares.

“Phonac Music” sounds like a nostalgic trip back to the early 2000 in Scandinavia. I know this is very specific but if you listen to “Antibody”, the opening track of the album, the first thing that comes to your head is Kent. No, not the county in Southeast England, but the excellent Swedish band that sadly is still pretty much unknown on the British soil. I absolutely adore Kent and if anything sounds even remotely similar, I’m sold. Pulse Park are a bit louder, heavier and more brit-pop orientated but their music possesses the same ethery, dreamy vibe, the same spacious feeling, almost otherworldly sound. It’s hard to describe it really, it’s almost like trying to explain a chilly, sunny morning at the Roskilde Festival to somebody who never been to Denmark and never attended a festival before. They might get the general idea, but they will never understand the stillness of the camping site at the early hour, the bright night turning into the pale day, the coldness of the sea wind – you can only truly understand the moment if you have lived through it._Tdw6-uo

And this is the magic of Pulse Park – they have breathed the cold air, they have seen the beautiful landscape and they lived to tell the tale – with the help of their distorted guitars, rhythmic drumming, keyboards and slow bass.

So why am I thinking of Scandinavia and not Canada? Maybe because in my head, Canadian alternative bands should sound like Moist. And Pulse Park are not even on the same continent as the David Usher’s led quintet. They sound nothing like Death from Above, nothing like Cowboy Junkies or The Trews. I hear Kent in “Sine Wave”, Escobar in the beautifully slower “Icaric”, Grass Show in the “Apollonian Heart” and to my surprise, a very early Myslovitz (a Polish band) in “Factory Fire”.

There is a lot of English 90’s indie rock and brit pop in their sound as well – forget the Gallagher Brothers, Pulse Park are looking at Gene, Stereophonic, Travis (“The Equidistance”) and The Dandys (“Realtime”).

“Phonac Music” is beautifully crafted, beautifully mastered modern take on late 90’s/early 00’s Northern European indie music. An obligatory listen for everybody who wasn’t lucky to grew up in this decade.

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I truly hope that Pulse Park will be appreciated on the mainland. Sadly, it might prove hard for them to impress listeners in the UK and their native Germany. Yet, for the music they make, they deserve a massive success. I hope they will go as big as Kent.

Social Media:
https://www.pulse-park.com
https://pulsepark.bandcamp.com
https://facebook.com/Pulsepark.de
https://www.instagram.com/pulse_park
https://twitter.com/PulsePark
https://soundcloud.com/pulse-park

Management & Booking:
Nathalie Tardif
Contact: pulse_park@outlook.com

“Phonac Music” was recorded by Kurt Ebelhaeuser and Michel Wern with Ebelhaeuser serving as producer as well. It was mastered by Andi Jung and released on 16th of April 2022 by Shore Dive Records.

Rita Dabrowicz

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