Tuesday, March 5, 2024

EP review: Cage Park are unleashed on the perfect ‘Parma Violets’

Cage Park (the park) may be closed, but Cage Park (the band) are laughing the face of lockdown on rollicking debut EP that stays on the right side of ragged.

There are two things you can be sure of when it comes to Cage Park.

Firstly, they have an affinity for confectionary that borders on obsession. Not only have they dedicated their EP and opening track to the criminally overlooked violet wonder that is Parma Violets, at one point the group interrupt a song to discuss their favourite chocolate (incidentally, it sounds like – criminally – Daim Bar may be the winner).

Secondly, they’re not just here to make up the numbers. Parma Violets more than matches the sweet for its fizziness, bold taste and cracking combination of sugary goodness and tough texture.

The title track opener cuts through mumbled conversation with a double-punch of dynamic harmonies, delivered impeccably by bassist Edie Mist and Artie Belben. Matched with jagged, angular guitars that recall early Cribs and Young Knives, it bursts into a gloriously catchy chorus.

Indeed, just like any sweet, Parma Violets is refreshingly addictive. The standout track and closer ‘OK’ is wall-to-wall hooks, from its relentlessly catchy ‘na na na’ coda to the back-and-forth vocals that are as frantic as they are fun. Matched by a bubble gum crunch of guitars and a moody jangle, calling it merely ‘OK’ is doing it a disservice.

‘Close But Not Enough’ is a straight-ahead rush of regret and pyromania, before ramping up a gear as Mist’s powerful voice is matched by nagging riffs and pounding percussion. ‘Kitchen Floor’, meanwhile, is perhaps the most danceable song here, a floor-filling thrill of cymbals, dual harmonies and infectious guitars.

Parma Violets is a genuine triumph. Cage Park have been together for a number of years, and their tight musicianship is evident – Mist and Belben’s harmonies are so close you could barely squeeze a Rizla between them. Every chorus is built for festivals. The rhythms pound with merciless glee.

It’s no surprise that Cage Park have become one of the most in-demand bands, from live streaming to Russia to supporting the likes of Feet and The Blinders.

“We’re not here to play around,” they sing at one point. On the evidence of Parma Violets, you can damn well believe it…sweet treats never sounded so good.

Parma Violets is out now.

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Samuel Lambeth

Tied to the '90s. I love anything with a good melody. Favourite acts include DIIV, Best Coast, Wavves, MBV, The Lemonheads, Bully, Pavement, Weezer, Wolf Alice, Mac DeMarco and Dinosaur Jr.