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Album Review: Sudan Archives – Athena

31 October 2019 | 8:58 am | Christopher H James

"[J]ust a little bit too safe."

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Brittney “Sudan Archives” Parks is slipstreaming into the limelight, having hooked up with the LA beat-maker big wigs that run Stones Throw. Her first two EPs for the label were simple in-house affairs – written and performed by Parks, and self-produced. Armed with little more than her fiddle and homemade beats, they had a fresh energy that’s somewhat lacking here. 

Enlisting four eminent producers, including chillwave survivor Washed Out, Athena has plenty of polish. However, there's also something missing, as the vibrant fiddle riffs are overlaid with the contributions of guest producers and jazz musicians. With the addition of a whole lot of newfound friends, the character of Parks’ early work has been crowded out and fades into the scenery. There’s still the intrepid curiosity on the far-off gazing Down On Me, and as a lead single, Confessions is a well-balanced, well-written ode to not belonging. Titles like Black Vivaldi Sonata suggest her individual sense of humour remains intact, but in the final wash-up, Athena is slick, self-assured and just a little bit too safe for its own good.