Gig Review... Theme Park @ The Cockpit Room 2, Leeds, 29th February 2012

With only a few live shows under their belt and negligible amounts of recorded tracks available to hear, Theme Park have nonetheless endeavoured to create quite a name for themselves online. They seem to be everyone’s favourite new band. So it’s no surprise to find the venue packed when the London quintet take to the stage with the first co-headliner set. Nerves are visible across the band’s faces as they get ready, but as they kick off with the tropical bounce of ‘A Mountain We Love’, these soon fade away and the soft vocals of Miles take centre stage. It’s these naturally deep and smooth tendencies which have provoked such comparisons to the likes of Talking Heads. Seasoned pop band Summer Camp recently summed them up – “They sound like the poppiest bits of Talking Heads playing shyly at a beach party in Barbados”.

Theme Park work through their 7-song long set with a degree of excellence; while, importantly, maintaining a chilled atmosphere via the use of delicate rhythms and cleverly layered synths. They chuck in a couple of new songs (probably from their eagerly anticipated debut album), as well as running through fan favourite ‘Milk’. Their dreamy guitar pop is full of shuffling drums and hooks that fit nicely on top of breezy basslines – so breezy at times that the smile-ridden band sway in synchro.

Their first single ‘Wax’, which merits tonight’s loudest applause, is the penultimate track serving up a timely reminder of just how far this band have come and also of how much they are yet to give. The short, but worthwhile, set comes to a close with new single ‘Two Hours’ and it’s easy to see why it’s been awarded Radio 1 airtime. The bulk of the young crowd attach themselves to the chorus, despite the song only coming to their attention through a Youtube stream weeks ago. All in all, it’s safe to say Theme Park are far from a high-speed thrill ride, yet have charm and character that certainly makes them an attraction worth revisiting.

Written by - Richard Maver