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For The Love Of Music

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Album Review

Mike Park is one of the kingpins of the third wave ska revival. He was the singer in Skankin' Pickle and formed Asian Man Records. Maybe the last thing one might expect from Park on his debut solo album is low-key acoustic folk-pop in the style of early Elliott Smith or the New Amsterdams. That's what For the Love of Music is, though. Park's rich voice is backed by acoustic guitars (with the occasional hushed electric guitar) and minimal percussion as he works his way through ten very personal songs that deal with racism in the ska and mod scenes ("Supposed to Be There Soon"), old-school racism ("From Korea"), getting older ("Counting Sheep"), and family junk ("Present Day Memories"). The songs have winning melodies and the political lyrics aren't as clunky as they could have been. Park has a punk inflection to his vocals that Smith never had; many of the tracks here (like the righteous "Challenging Me" or "Hey You!") would be great punk anthems if fleshed out by a full-band attack. Park does a good job of transferring his ska-punk energy and commitment to the stripped-down bedroom sound, and fans of his older music should be able to make the transition right along with Park smoothly.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

In the early to mid-'90s Mike Park was part of the third wave ska revival with his band Skankin' Pickle. Mixing humor with ska rhythms and influences drawn from hardcore, punk, and metal, Skankin' Pickle released five records through their own Dill imprint before disbanding in 1996. Park went on to launch Asian Man Records, which released ska and punk records from such groups as Alkaline Trio, MU330, Screeching Weasel, and his own band, the Chinkees, whose releases included Peace Through Music (1999)...
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For The Love Of Music, Mike Park
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