The Alternative Elite

It is with a certain sense of sorrow that I present this fine album to the masses. I’ve spent the last six months since its release absorbing and embracing every song contained on Amusement Parks On Fire’s first self-titled release, under the wonderful fantasy that these guys were my band. Amusement Parks On Fire is the brain child of Nottingham, England’s Michael Feerick, an extremely gifted young man in his early twenties who began writing this album while still in his teens (According to’s Dom Gourlay). Not only did he write every song on this album, but he also learned to play guitar, bass, piano and drums, and he played every instrument heard on the album. It was only after this album’s release and Feerick’s decision to tour that he wrangled a few other musicians together and make APOF an actual, honest-to-God “band.” A loud, multi-layered sonic assault, Amusement Parks On Fire is driven by the warm, compelling guitars that dominate almost every track and seem to embrace your entire being when blasted at the appropriate volume. Equally gripping are the soaring melodies that Feerick provides in his seamless forty-seven minute opus. His work is reminiscent of David Grohl’s trademark catchy tunes that liberated him from the shadow of Nirvana and made the Foo Fighters a household name. Feerick’s songs rocket through you like a jet, rumbling through every fiber of your body. For those of you who are already Indie Rock snobs, the first thing you will detect when you listen to a track like “Smokescreen” or “Wiper” is the obvious and intense influence of Kevin Shields and My Bloody Valentine. Their watershed 1991 album Loveless (which will undoubtedly become the subject of an Alternative Elite in the weeks and months to come) left an indelible mark on the Alternative Rock world, and no artist has fully embraced Mr. Shields as a musical father-figure more than Michael Feerick. The towering melodies and ubiquitous guitars that I have commended, are direct descendents of vintage My Bloody Valentine. Another influence one can distinguish, especially on the “Asphalt” interlude, is that of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness-era Smashing Pumpkins. The serene piano and orchestral appearances and smoldering, slow-burning ambience seem to scream, “BILLY CORGAN WAS HERE!” This is not to say that Amusement Parks On Fire is an album that simply regurgitates the 90’s Greatest Hits. Michael Feerick is simply a kid that did his homework and studied hard, learning from the best teachers that Alternative Rock has to offer. In the midst of my love affair with this album and the people responsible for it, I noticed a post on their website offering free stickers to those who desired them. Like a jubilant child writing his Christmas list to Santa, I sent an email to the band professing my adoration for their music and requested said stickers. I was doubtful that I would ever actually receive anything after writing the email, considering both the band’s hectic touring schedule and the location of their headquarters on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. To my surprise, I received a package on my doorstep not but a few weeks later. Within it, not only did I find a pack of a dozen stickers, but also copy of both their impossible to find Venosa/Eighty-Eight EP (containing a fantastic acoustic version of “Venus In Cancer”) and promotional Smokescreen single, both of which I had been drooling over for months. Included as well was a handwritten note penned on a paper boasting the name of a hotel on the top, thanking me for my support and hoping that I enjoy the goodies supplied to me. I have never seen such tender love and care for fans from a band. The door to my room now proudly displays one of those stickers, and upon my desk cozily sits the Venosa/Eighty-Eight EP, which I now consider to be one of my most prized possessions. The beauty of Amusement Parks On Fire lies in its vivacity and its passion for youth. I’ve read jaded reviews of the album by apathetic middle aged cynics who stuck their nose up at its adolescent vigor. And that’s okay. They’re not supposed to get it. This album was made for our generation, by our generation. If nothing else, this album makes you embrace adolescence and the wild roller-coaster ride that accompanies it. Don’t bellow over the pain and thrash to remove yourself from the confines of it. You’re strapped in until this ride is over and the bar is lifted. So, why not stop struggling against forces you have no control over, throw up your hands in exhilaration and enjoy every dip and crest you experience. The ride is shorter than you think, and when the wheels finally do screech to a stop and you step out into the real world, missing the rush of the journey, look back in awe at these Amusement Parks On Fire.