Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The Mark-Blackouts of Whitecaps EP

June 1, 2006

themarkfrontBand Name: The Mark

Album: Blackouts of Whitecaps EP

Best Aspect: Amazing instrumental prowess

Genre: R-O-C-K

Website: www.themarkmusic.com

Label: n/a

Band E-mail: themark@themarkmusic.com

Pop-punk has done a real number on rock music. Its influence has polarized the music scene to where ‘serious’ rock is loud, dark, and moody, while ‘fun’ rock is pop-punk or obviously-for-show retro. It’s hard for a band to get accepted when they occupy that space in the middle. The Mark not only occupies that space- it owns that space. It’s not available for sale.

The Mark knows how to be serious, have fun, and display an amazing technical prowess all at the same time. I know it sounds tough- but that’s just because we’ve inoculated against good rock music.

The Mark owns rock music by having each individual piece of the puzzle fall together. The bottom line is the bassist, who is extremely talented, but knows when to restrain himself. He’s equally at home in lightning-speed runs (“Jekyll Walks”), or simple lines (“Sapphire”), or no line (the second untitled interlude). He doesn’t try to steal the show, but he displays his talent very well.

The drummer comes next- his versatility makes the rest of the sound work. His change-on-a-dime capabilities make songs like “Sapphire” possible- without the passionate, shifty drums, there just wouldn’t be a basis for the song.

The guitars offer a lot to this album too- intricate and blazing, they are always fist-pumping. Whether they’re delivering coiled riffs (“Sapphire”) or huge chord riffs (“Compass Points”), they rock. They know when to get quiet, they know when to get loud, they just know. This band has a chemistry that seems telepathic- no matter what one part is doing, there’s another part that’s playing countermelody, interlocking perfectly. These songs are perfectly constructed. There is not anything wrong with any one of these tracks.

The vocals top it all off. There are two extremely talented vocalists here- a lead singer with a voice so smooth and persuasive that it could convince even the most hardcore skeptics of the moon conspiracy that we did, in fact, land on the moon. It’s the type of voice you listen to the radio to hear- a great, talented voice. The bgv’s are great as well, accentuating perfectly without sounding forced or false.

“Sapphire” is easily the best track here- the most intricate and complex, it also packs the most wallop. The two guitars weave in and out, creating in-and-out melodies while the drums and bass accentuate perfectly. The passionate vocals swoop and punch throughout, becoming forceful and furious without screaming (hallelujah).

Why the Mark isn’t famous is a mystery to me. They are easily the most talented band I’ve come across in all my music reviewing. They’re making the oldest genre in rock feel new again, infusing power, agility, and youthful vitriol into it. The Mark own rock’n’roll right now- it’s up to everyone else to get up to the Mark’s standard. They’ve moved to the top of my watch list with this EP.

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@hotmail.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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