Some Kind Of Amusement Park begins with the stomping Hot Rod To Nowhere, which features Gabriele Morgan on vocals. It's interesting to note that Youth Chairs utilize two vocalists on this release, Gabriele and Kim Dart Hurwitz, both of whom were in the band's initial early 1980's runs. Really cool to see this type of cooperative compromise! Gabriele's voice is a bit more gritty, and it works perfectly for this track, with its early 1960's U.K. Country Blues feel. David's drumming locks in perfectly with Larry Jacobson's slashing guitar chords and John Richey's understated bass playing. When the band band launches quickly into a post-bridge ascending unison riff it's a thing of beauty! Hot Rod really hooked this listener's attention.
Youth Chairs bring the sound a bit closer to their Los Angeles home on When Amy Says. The tune has that post-Punk energy that fueled many bands in Southern California, with nodding hints towards Bakersfield and maybe Ventura and Pedro aesthetics. Guitars jangle a bit more, and Kim's vocals feature a bit more naivete perhaps. David's swishing cymbal sounds and crisp fills drive this great piece of Pop Rock energy.
Gabriele's more deeply dramatic voice starts off You Made Me Believe. Disaster Amnesiac again finds it fascinating to compare hers with Kim's. They're both great, mind you. Just very fun to dwell on the differences as these songs roll by. The former has a voice perfect for the sentiments of this damn fine love song. Larry strums some effective acoustic guitar and Lisa Haley helps out with lovely viola, while Richey and Winogrond keep things simple and clear in the rhythm section. A very pretty, uplifting, optimistic track.
Youth Chairs bring the energy back up for the spiky Kim feature, Next Best Thing, which fuses most of the stated influences into a very catchy chant about misunderstanding within love relations. Any song that features the line "...the weed is on your nightstand/and the rest is in your head..." is fine with Disaster Amnesiac, that's for sure. Such a damn catchy chorus and bridge, to boot.
Kim remains on mic for the world weary sentiments of Your Perfect World. This tune cannily fuses sunny Dream Pop keyboards from John Kaysing with righteously dissing critiques of some shiny scene. Was this written during Youth Chairs' initial forays? Surely these types of insights are perennially available to the observant person. The approaching of wrapping this message into such a lovely Pop sound is real neat.
Next up, we have the deceptive Don't Make Me Your World, and it is so because while it's Gabriele singing, she sounds a lot like Kim. Or is that vice versa? This track has a loping, almost Ska feel at times, greased by more cool keys from Kaysing and David's tight fills and swift hi hat sticking patterns. Disaster Amnesiac keeps thinking "the Who" during this song's bridge, and envisions a strange carnival during its brief non-sung musical interlude.
Some Kind Of Amusement Park's penultimate track, Paper, kicks in with more fine jangle from Larry's guitar before Kim's return to the mic is pushed with power chord authority. Tight arrangement keeps things moving on this track, leading to more of that great Los Angeles (not Hollywood, mind you) cymbal bell bar stomp action. That sweet jangle gets reinserted there for more Youth Chairs ear candy.
The album ends with a tom tom lead ode to cross country travel, New York Gray, in which Gabriele again utilizes her more dramatic leanings to describe a rather ambiguous affair that takes place in the Big Apple. Kaysing's keyboard solo has Disaster Amnesiac thinking about Doug Yule's great playing on that third Velvets LP. Gray most definitely has that bitter sweet feel, and having recently been to NYC, I'm relating. Life's full joy and sadness, and a track such as this adeptly illumines this fact.
Full of Pop vim and Punk Rock vigor, Some Kind Of Amusement Park continues the odyssey of Youth Chairs in a compellingly listenable way. As stated, Disaster Amnesiac always relishes hearing from David Winogrond. Sounds this catchy and energetic just sweeten that deal even more. Nicely done, Youth Chairs!