Patrick Park Loneliness Knows My Name

For an album that eventually soars with some near timeless roots pop, it starts out pretty bland, shifting into high gear slowly. In fact it is not until the third song, "Sons of Guns" that the labour of opening the package pays off, and finally leaves the awkward and ill-advised harpsichord of preceding track "Honest Skrew" behind. Perhaps it is because at this moment on the album lap steel guru Eric Heywood (Son Volt, Richard Buckner, Alejandro Escovedo) makes his entrance — and really, anything Heywood graces is almost a sure thing, but more probably it is because Park starts to finally show us his main strength — the big chorus. Song after song Park uses this strength to ultimate effect, seriously blurring the lines between rootsy alt-country and savvy pop. Occasionally, like in the heavy waltz of "Nothing's Wrong,” this works to his detriment as the chorus overshadows the rest of the track, and, with the time change, actually sounds like it comes from a different song. Mostly though, the songs on Loneliness are dramatically productive and lyrically rich. "Your Smile's a Drug,” for instance, ends with the line: "When you say you're in love / You just sound like you're giving up." Let's hope Park's relationship with his record company is more secure than the one with his muse. (Hollywood)