Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
9 July 2014
No one is staffing the merchandise table at Karin Park’s Hoxton show. A folded t-shirt sits next to a CD – abandoned, perhaps, so that the merch rep can take in the gig from a position closer to the stage. Spaces at the front are at a premium, taken up by photographers pointing lenses at Karin and girls pressing forward for a closer look at her brother, David.
It’s hard to fault them, really. Drummer David is a blonde mane atop a muscular V, while singer Karin’s symmetrical features are a lure to lenses. The show is a rare London outing for the Parks, and Dalston hipsters vie with Essex music veterans for the best view as David energetically knocks out rhythms and triggers pads. Sister Karin owns the stage, striding from Dreier-esque vulnerability to confident, floor filling dance tracks with a vocal range as wide as her legs are long.
The set feels like it is over in a heart-beat, but the hour-long show covers a lot of terrain: from current Beatport favourite, “Shine,” to the dueling drums of “Thousand Loaded Guns.” A new song, “Look What You’ve Done Now,” is darkness and magic. “New Era,” from the Tiger Dreams EP, rubs shoulders with “Wildchild” from Highwire Poetry and a version of Maya Jane Coles’ “Everything.” Recalled to the stage by enthusiastic applause, the Parks reach back to 2009’s Ashes to Gold for “Desire” with just the slightest hesitation – it hasn’t been played live recently, but it’s a reminder of how far their sound has traveled and how vital it remains.
From the backwoods of Dalarna to an intimate venue in Hoxton, Karin Park’s song-craft is consistently unvarnished and raw. It touches nerves, breaks hearts and moves hips. It’s the real thing. You can pick up a t-shirt another time.