Album of the Week: Sudan Archives | Natural Brown Prom Queen

On her second full length release as Sudan Archives, Brittney Parks sounds as if she was set free—mind, body, and spirit—to explore an endless playground of sound.

While I enjoyed 2019’s Athena, I’m loving Natural Brown Prom Queen, released on Stones Throw earlier this month, for all its variety, pomp, and swagger supported by an addictive deep groove all sprouting from the fertile mind, hands, and vocals of multi-instrumentalist Parks. Self taught on violin, Parks plays in a way that makes it difficult to discern as such, bending its sound with effects to suit the mood and song. Most everything you hear on Natural Brown Prom Queen is the product of Parks which is cause for real wonder, as the depth and breadth of the music feels more like a genre-defying collective.

I hear real joy here, a sense of delight that has broken away from the ever-present social pressures that have become even more aggressive and ugly thanks to social media, where people act out insecurities and ignorance like badges of honor. Natural Brown Prom Queen rises above the fray for a party worth joining for the duration.