It’s been said that you can never go back home. Prospect Park’s debut EP is a meditation on the attempt to. The music was written and recorded at Paperchaser Studios in Los Angeles by Tyler Chester and Kenny McGuane. The two grew up making music together about 60 miles east of LA in Redlands, CA, a small oasis of middle class decency, quirk, and culture on the otherwise blighted and blasted landscape of San Bernardino County’s Inland Empire. They formed their first bands together and cut their teeth on records by Tears For Fears, Pet Shop Boys, Talk Talk, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, and Sting. An early brush with the infamous 70’s scenester and manager Kim Fowley, who strangely took up residence in town for a time and had an intense interest in the guys’ high school band, portended weird and exciting rock n’ roll happenings before Fowley abruptly vanished from Redlands.
Whether Kenny and Tyler had missed an opportunity or dodged a bullet, they continued to grow and work together in their hometown for years before leaving and ranging far out into the wider world. The Prospect Park EP knowingly glances back at those formative days. Christened after a favorite hangout for drinking and contemplation in the verdant southern hills of town (not to be confused with the NYC park), the project’s lyrics and themes are rife with references to the beauty, jealousy, love, loss and discovery of youth (mis)spent in Redlands, with its incongruous “palm trees and snow” and “ash on the hillside”.
Tyler handles most of the multi instrumentalism and engineering throughout. An LA based producer who has worked with Jackson Browne, Nikka Costa, Blake Mills, Sara Watkins, Brooke Fraser and Christina Aguilera among others, Tyler lends a deft and savvy touch to the synths and arrangements that elevates the songs into the strata of great, fully conceived popular music.
Kenny takes care of vocals, delivering the evocative lyrics in a sensuous rasp that suggests he knows it all too well—wherever you’re coming from. Dividing his time between writing the occasional record review, being a part time drill instructor for the US Air Force, and working as a full time digital and social media coordinator for a research foundation, it still becomes quickly evident to the listener that music is more than a part time gig to him and is where he finds himself most at home.
All of Prospect Park’s artwork is coordinated by Casey Curry, himself an early musical cohort of Tyler and Kenny. One of Southern California’s preeminent photographers, Casey’s working credits include Weird Al, Pharrell, Brian Wilson, Annie Lennox, Andrew W.K., Paula Abdul, and dozens of other fantastic artists. Many legs of Casey’s own journey have crossed with Kenny’s and Tyler’s and he succeeds perfectly in making their sonic aesthetic a visible one.
Turn it up and let Prospect Park’s pulsing synths and rending commentary on youth and experience pick you up, turn you around, and point you back toward wherever it was you came from. If you lose yourself in the music and peer into the distance intently enough it is almost believable that you could walk back through some door, somewhere, sit down and reclaim the stupid heart you left behind.
Local Tastemaker & Burnout