No More Sound, Sad Park’s third full-length, begins with an ending. More specifically, with its own ending.Because the short, just-over-a-minute-long “No More Songs” is kind of a stripped-down reprise of the titletrackthatcloses this record. In one way, it means this album—the band’s first for Pure Noise—travels backin timeover its 38 or so minutes, but in another it’s also travelling forwards. Because while “No MoreSound” is a more fleshed-out version of “No More Songs”, it also containsmelodic and lyricalthrowbacks tothe eleven songs that sit between them. Perhaps more importantly, as everything comes full circle on therecord, it offers something that the opener doesn’t.“I wanted you toreallyhear thesong’sdarker lyrics in the beginning,” explainsvocalist/guitarist GrahamSteele, “thenonce you hear them again at the end, there's maybe some sense of hope—a sense thatyou’vekind of gone through something andhave learnedsomethingfromit. So once you get to the end,those lyrics take on a little bit of a different meaning.This was the first album where we really thoughtthrough everything and tried to create some sort of story.”It’s not that Sad Park—who formed in Los Angeles in 2015—weren’t capable of that before, but onNoMore Soundthe band worked with AJJ’s Sean Bonnette, who oversaw production and collaborated withSteele on the lyric writing process too.He helped Steele,bassist/vocalist Sam Morton, drummer GrantBubar and guitarist Aidan Memorynot only create a record that flows, musically and thematically, frombeginning to end, but which also sees the four-piece truly discover and become who they are as a band.“Withourprevious records,” says Steele, “I was listening to a lot of bands and thentrying to writelikethem,like ‘We really like FIDLAR and Together Pangea, so we're going to write music that really sounds likethat.’ This album feelsa lot more like us as a band,likereally sitting down and writing whatever was inus.It’s the first album where we found what our sound is as individual musicians.”Recorded across ten days atBalboa Studios in Los Angeles,No More Soundis, in fact, the sound of a bandreally coming into their own.It was, says Steele, the most fun he’s ever had recording an album, and youcan hear that in these 13 songs. “Always Around”, for example, is a perfect slice of jaunty, off-kilter indie,while the frantic, frenzied, gritty pop-punk of “Art Will Be Gone”—replete with a joyously mournful, ska-punk-inspiredhorn section—and the jittery, nervous energy of “Money In The Bag” sparkle with the band’sdistinctive fizz. But eventhesongs that are more melancholy in tonesparklewith that underlyingenthusiasm:“OMW!” is a slow-motion but energetic chug thatwrestles withthe struggles of life in atouring band while simultaneously reveling in it, while “Carousel” begins life as a minor chord lamentbefore blooming into an effusive crescendo. Itends with a guitar solo that’s split between Morton, Memoryand Together Pangea drummer Erik Jimenez, which sums up the sense of purpose, pleasureand excitementthat holds this record together—even if it didn’talwaysfeel that way.“I fucking hated that song for a long time,” chuckles Bubar, “because I just didn't feel connected to it. I findit hard to connect with Graham's words sometimes because he’s my friend and it's hard to make thattransition. So I wasn't sure about that song or the drums for it, so I wanted to do a practice take and thatwas the one we ended up using, which is cool, because it breathes life into the song. And then that solo atthe ending just sounds like three dudes having fun late at night. How that song came about was probablylike the biggest turn around for me.”“We weren’t actually going to putit on the record,” adds Memory,“butSean was like, ‘I like that one!’ sowe decided to try to figure it out. And I think we did.”They did. And in fact, it captures their chemistry perfectly. But asmuch fun as the band had on that guitarsolo, and making then record in general,No More Soundsstill manages to convey the band’s distinctivelypeppy sense of melancholy. Just listen to the desperate urgency of “I Can’t Fight It”, the shimmeringemotional strength of “Watch The World Fall Down” or thefrazzled,carpe diemrush of “Death”, whichserves as a reminder to make the most of the time we have and the people we love while they (and we) arestill here.“That’s probably one of my favorite songs ever,” says Steele. “I'm very inspired by AJJ and Sean, and I'vealways had that thing when listening to them where I'm like, 'Why didn't I think of that?!'. “Death” kind offeels like one of those songs where I had this idea and I basically just spoke words into the song and thoseare the lyrics. And it means a lot to me because that was kind of the thing that I had been feeling through
writing the entire album. So to just put it all in that one song was my favorite thing ever.”In fact,thatexistential depth courses through the entire record. While Sad Park have always tapped intothe human condition with their songs, they do soeven moreprofoundly on this record. That’s somethingSteele puts down to allowing the lyrics to pour out. While that’s not a new technique for him,Bonnette’sguidancereally allowed him to capture everything he was feeling.“I've never written lyrics down,” he says, “and I go into the studio with nothing. Having Sean there wasgreat for this because we got the chance toreally work outthe theme of the album. We both understoodwhatwe were trying to say.So once the music was done, me and Sean were outside just cranking out lyricsforthe thing that we just recorded.I think it really puts the album in thisspecific place and time—asopposed to,‘Well, I wrote these lyrics two years ago in summer and I wrote those during winter when I wasgoing through this thing.’ Wewrote these lyrics during this time for this moment.”This record doesn’t just sum up Sad Park’s present, though. No longer a DIY band—though very muchmaintaining their DIY sensibilities—Sad Park have crafted an album that, while starting at its end, alsoflingsthe door wide open for theirfuture. Each of them poured their heart and soul into these songs, and theresultsdon’t justspeak for themselvesbut which defies and transcends their modesty.“This is the first time we had a budget,” says Bubar, “and the first time we rented out a studio instead ofsneaking into whatever one Sam was working at at night to recordstuff.Making this album has beenwonderful.”“It feels, for the first time,likeI'm like playing in my favorite band,” Steele says. “I get to play and sing in theband that's writing the music that I've always wanted to hear.SoI hope there's somebodythat really needsthis album and they get to hear it.”“Well,I'm hoping for number one!” laughs Memory. “We're going platinum with this one!